Home / Food / Swordfish with tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and raisins (Pesce spada alla siciliana)

Swordfish with tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and raisins (Pesce spada alla siciliana)

Preparing pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Preparing pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Though I love to cook and am always up for trying out new recipes – whether it be homemade gelato or pizza from scratch – I’ve realized that I generally gravitate towards pasta, risotto, and dessert. As a result, I make an awesome ragù, a great risotto with peas and pancetta, and all sorts of cake and ice cream from scratch. While my repertoire of carbohydrate based dishes is ever expanding, this tendency has left me slightly unbalanced as a cook. The few secondi that I know how to make are meat based – I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve made seafood, and I very rarely order it in restaurants (the primi always catch my eye first). I imagine this is because we rarely ate seafood at home when I was growing up, and besides, I’d always assumed fish was something that people on a diet had to eat, a bland dish in desperate need of a lemon wedge on the side or some butter and breadcrumbs to spruce it up.

Pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

I changed my mind about seafood recently when on a whim I came up with this recipe for swordfish, if just to get out of my culinary comfort zone for a bit. The mix of ingredients may seem odd first, but trust me on this – every bite is different, thanks to the briny olives, sweet raisins, sharp capers, and savory tomatoes, and don’t underestimate the usually mild pine nuts –they really give the sauce another layer of flavor. I’m pleased to say that this dish is every bit as satisfying and filling as my usual primo, not to mention a bit lighter and more nutritious than pasta. I’ve used swordfish here as it is substantial enough to stand up to the flavorful sauce, but feel free to use any kind of fish you like though. If you have any sauce leftover, I found it is also delicious stirred in to couscous (so good in fact that it would be worth making the sauce just for this, never mind using the leftovers!) Enjoy everyone!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup black olives pitted and halved
  • 1 ounce pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 4 swordfish steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

Soak the raisins in the wine for 30 minutes. Remove the raisins from the wine, and reserve the wine.
Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over high heat. Sauté the onion, tomatoes, and garlic until soft. Add the reserved wine and let it cook down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, olives, pine nuts and capers. Reduce the heat and let the ingredients cook together for another five minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper. Place the swordfish a lightly oiled baking dish and cover with the cooked sauce. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked throughout. Serve right away, sprinkled with parsley. Serves 4.

Pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

About Francesca Bruzzese

Francesca Bruzzese is an avid cook and baker who has been living in Rome, Italy since 2011. A Rhode Island native with Italian roots, you can usually find her in the kitchen making dolci to bring to her colleagues at work, developing new recipes to add to her repertoire, or planning her next dinner party. In addition to contributing recipes and articles to Eating Italy Food Tours, she also has a food blog, Pancakes and Biscotti (www.pancakesandbiscotti.com).