Swordfish with the Last of the Great Tomatoes


         I can never froget the class in James Beard's kitchen on the night we made his rolled leg of lamb, simmered and steamed in a big enameled cast-iron pot. It was studded with garlic and anchovies, as I recall, and served very rare with a garnish of minced black olives, minced lemon peel, finely chopped raw garlic, and snipped parsley. That night everything we made had garlic in it, except for the cassis sorbet. Much later, the man in my life, kissing the inside of my elbow, looked up at me with an unhappy expression and said, "Do you know there is garlic oozing out of your skin?"

          I love the garnish so much that I do a version of it with this swordfish dish, which I like seared on the ouside and just warm within.

This recipe was printed in Sheila Lukin and Julee Rosso's "Silver Palate" cookbook.


Tomato Sauce

    3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes

    2 tablesppons finely minced shallots

    2 tablesppons extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

    Pinch of sugar

    1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) or fresh Italin (flat-leaf) parsley



    4 teaspoons finely minced garlic

    1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

    3 tablespoons minced pitted imported black olives (Greek or Moroccan)

    4 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest

    3 tablesppons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) or fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley


The Swordfish Preparation

    2 pounds swordfish steak, 1 inch thick

    1 cup dried bread crumbs

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Cilantro or parsley sprigs, for garnish


1. Make the suace: Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Combine the tomatoes and their juice with the remaining sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir, and set aside.


2. For the garnish, combine the garlic and oil in a small bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients, stir, and set aside.


3. Cut the swordfish into 1-inch cubes. Combine the bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a plastic or paper bag. Add the swordfish, and shake to coat.


4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the swordfish until crusty brown on the outside and just warm within, about 2 minutes on each side. Cook the cubes in fairly small batches, adding butter and oil as needed.


5. Place a pool of tomato sauce in the center of four dinner plates, and arrange the swordfish cubes on the sauce. Sprinkle the olive garnish over the top and decorate with a spring of cilantro.


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