Saturday, April 9, 2011

Swordfish Steaks and Spaghetti

I saw this recipe prepared on "Lidia's Italy" on PBS. As it marked only the second time I've ever written down the recipe while watching a cooking show, I decided it was worth trying. Plus, I enjoy most fish, but swordfish is not something typically in my repetoire (it's pretty expensive!) so this was a nice place to start.

The biggest issue I had was simply finding appropriate-sized baking pans to nest in each other for steaming. I dropped my pan with the fish into the pan of boiling water and had to quick! retrieve and drain! before it cooks from boiling instead of steaming! But it was still delicious. While I'm sure this same recipe would be excellent with many different kinds of fish, the swordfish (on Monterey Bay Aquarium's list of "safe/good alternatives") is really excellent. It has a firm, but oily texture, and a rich, but completely "un-fishy" flavor. It's not something you want to try and cover over with strong sauces or salsas. This recipe would be easy to size up or down for however many people you are serving, and makes for a light summer meal, or an elegant dish for entertaining.

Lidia doesn't really measure anything, so neither did I; quantities below are approximate, use your eye and dress to taste!

Steamed Swordfish Steaks
serves 2
2 small swordfish steaks
1/2 lemon, sliced cross-wise into thin rounds
1 clove garlic, sliced cross-wise into thin rounds
olive oil to moisten
crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon capers (drained)

Preheat oven to 400. Toss all ingredients except fish together in a baking pan that is the right size to hold the steaks in a single layer. Nestle each steak into the pan, rubbing with the oil and lemon mixture, with a few slices of lemon and garlic underneath and on top of each piece of fish.

Place the baking pan into a large roasting pan, and fill the large pan part-way with boiling water. Cover the larger pan tightly with foil, so that the steam from the water in the larger pan will cook the fish in the smaller pan. Bake at 400 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Just before serving, sprinkle each piece with a dusting of dried oregano.
Lidia had a cool trip where she has oregano springs that are dried (instead of just the leaves). She held the sprig by the stem, upside down over the fish, and just brushed it between her palms so some of the dried leaves would get slightly crushed and fall off the stem down onto the fish. I wasn't able to do it that way, but I did serve each piece atop a bed of the spaghetti (recipe below). The light floral herbality of saffron was just enough to flavor the pasta without making a strong aroma that would overpower the delectable swordfish. It also gives it just a hint of color to contrast the white of the fish, but be sure to serve each piece with some bright slices of the lemon and the dark capers. For further contrast, I plated this with a spoonful of the Kale and Broccoli that is appears in another of my April, 2011 postings.

Spaghetti in Saffron Cream Sauce
serves 4
1/2 package thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
white pepper
squeeze of lemon

Melt butter in large skillet. over medium heat. Add shallots and stir just until moistened and softened, but not turning brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in saffron, pepper, and cream and mix well. Add cooked pasta, squeeze of lemon juice, and toss to coat and heat through. Serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. I love spaghetti since I was a child. My mom always cooks me, my brothers and my sister whenever it's our birthday or other special occasions that needs celebrating. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Now I can cook for my mom. I'll definitely make this before I get my ISO 22000 Training.