So my New Years resolution to eat fish at least once a week has sort of fallen by the wayside (although I guess most New Years resolutions do). The thing is, I really do like fish, but I tend not to cook or order it whenever I go out. I mean if the choice is between braised short ribs or trout, guess which one I'm going to go for? Usually whenever I crave fish, it's after a bout of debauchery and indulgence. Pangs of guilt propel me to seek out something a bit more virtuous.
Such was the case this past weekend. You see it was gay pride here in West Hollywood. I happen to life only a few buildings up from Santa Monica Blvd. where the parade takes place and the whole general area turns into something resembling Mardi Gras but with more muscle boys in hot pants. Much of Saturday and Sunday was spent downing cheep adult beverages and then succumbing to drunken cravings for trashy/delicious foods like onion rings, hamburgers, and bacon wrapped hot dogs. A hangover on Monday required the need of greasy pizza for lunch, to soak up all the poison. Come dinnertime, I was sooooooo tempted to eat more crap, things I never eat. I considered boiling a big pot of pasta, soothing carby pasta. I resisted. Instead, I did what was right. On my way home from work I dropped by Bristol Farms and picked up two swordfish steaks and a bundle of broccolini. The reckless abandon had to stop. Help me swordfish.
2 cups marinara sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons currants
3 tablespoons capers
4 anchovies, rinsed and chopped
32 pitted black olives, halved
1 6-ounce swordfish steak per person dining (the amount of sauce will accommodate up to 4 people)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter the pine nuts on a small, rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to toast, stirring or shaking the pan every so often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove the nuts from the oven and let cool slightly. Alternately you can toast the nuts in a skillet over medium low heat, but you have to turn the oven on anyway, so you might as well do it that way. Plus I find that toasting nuts in a pan results in uneven browning.
Crank the oven up to 500 degrees F.
In a large, ovenproof skillet, combine the tomato sauce, garlic, pine nuts, currants, capers, anchovies and olives and heat over medium until everything has been warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Season the swordfish steaks on all sides with salt and pepper and then place in the pan on top of the sauce. Drizzle each steak with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil then slide the skillet into the oven and cook for 8 minutes.
To serve, spoon some of the sauce onto plates and top with the swordfish steak. Squeeze over the lemon juice and shower with the mint.
This is such a great weeknight dinner. I've made it a couple times. The first time I really wanted to post it and even took pictures of the preparation but as I cooked I just got too hungry to set up a final photo shoot. As I shoveled food into my face I vowed to make it again, and this time it would be different. The final results would get documented.
Anyway, unlike some of the other things I post that require marinating or slow cooking or lots of prep, this really is simple. The original recipe starts with jarred marinara sauce. I cannot endorse the use of jarred sauce. It's just something I don't/won't do. If you choose to do so I will look the other way and pretend you are using home made that you had stashed in the freezer, which is what I did. Regardless of the origins of your sauce, when combined with these classic Sicilian ingredients, it's completely elevated and becomes quite substantial. The flavors are robust and stand up well to the meaty swordfish. Cooking the fish this way really yields perfectly cooked results. The spritz of lemon adds some greatly appreciated acid and freshness that cuts through the heartiness of the dish. As does the mint.
I served the fish alongside another Nancy Silverton dish that I found on Food and Wine, charred broccolini with anchovies and garlic confit. Very tasty but not as speedy. I'm working on a quicker version of it so stand by. You could just serve it with a mound of fettucini or some similar long noodle and a nice little salad. OR just a salad. I feel like something involving artichokes would be great too, maybe some baby artichokes that have been grilled, but then that veers this away from a simple weeknight meal and into something a little more time consuming. Not that that's a bad thing.