Casseruola di Pesca Spada -- Swordfish with Tomatoes and Olives




8 (6 oz.) swordfish steaks *
All-purpose flour
8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lg. onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 cups tomatoes, skinned and mashed
4 tbsp. raisins plumped in hot water and drained
1/2 cup pine nuts (Pignoli)
2 tbsp. capers, drained
1-1/2 cup green olives, pitted
4 bay leaves


Dredge the fish in the flour. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole, add the fish and saute until lightly browned on both sides. Remove fish from the casserole and drain on absorbent paper. Salt and pepper the fish to taste. Set aside.

In the casserole, add onion, celery and garlic and gently saute for 5-6 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the bay leaves, and cook for at least 5 minutes more.

Return the fish to the casserole, add the bay leaves and just enough water to just cover the fish. Cover the casserole and cook in a moderate oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is tender. (15 minutes should be the absolute longest.) Remove bay leaves and serve hot with crusty Italian bread.

Author's Comments

The flavors of this casserole are as great as they are diverse! Onion, raisins, capers, olives . . . all blend to give this dish an almost sweet and sour overtone. The combination of ingredients are the signature of a Sicilian dish. Capers, olive and raisins in the same dish are very typically Sicilian in origin.

* Tuna may be substituted.

From my cookbook: The "Old Country" Italian Cookbook, by Donald J.P. La Marca

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