This dish is fabulous with the summer bounty of ripe cherry tomatoes, but works great even in the winter. Reducing the tomatoes into a thick delicious sauce concentrates the flavors and marries beautifully with the salty olives and capers. A hearty potpourri that matches perfectly with the meaty swordfish.
Alexander's Prime Meats and Howie's Market can provide you beautiful seafood, and, being a local full service butcher and grocery, will slice the fish to order. A 1" steak is perfect for this dish and serves 2 hungry people. The swordfish for this meal, we're told, was swimming in local waters just days before we ate it. For the oil cured black olives, we used Cinquina Oven Baked Marinated Olives from Howie's.
Better yet, the whole meal comes together in about 30 minutes after the fish marinates for at least an hour.
We posted this recipe several years ago, but since then discovered an even better way to cook the fish. It is easy to undercook and overcook swordfish, and ours came out moist and extraordinary. (See cooking notes below)
Mediterranean Swordfish with Cherry Tomatoes, Capers and Black Olives (2022)
2 -3 TB olive oil
1 TB fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of red chili flakes
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 1" thick swordfish steak (approx. 1 pound)
1 TB olive oil
4 cups sweet cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 TB capers, rinsed
1/3 cup Italian oil cured black olives, pitted and roughly chopped (sometimes known as salt-cured; the wrinkly ones). We have also used "oven-baked" marinated black olives
1/4 cup fresh basil, jullienned
Swordfish may have a 'bloodline' (you can see it in the middle picture). The flavor is a lot stronger and is not to everyone's taste. If that is the case for you, cut to the left of the line (in the picture), removing it and the skin and discard it. Alternatively, you can use the blood line meat and skin in with the tomatoes for flavor and discard later if you so choose. Sometimes the blood line might be closer to the middle of your steak, in which case cut it out from there.
Marinate fish in marinade (you can also include the skin and bloodline meat if you so choose) for at least one hour. Scrape most of the marinade ingredients off the fish and reserve the marinade.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a large sauté pan until hot. Add the 1 TB of olive oil. Sear the swordfish steak for 1 minute on each side. Remove from pan and place in a roasting pan (we like to use one with a rack). NOTE: As you can see, a 1" thick piece worked perfectly well seared on both sides. However, if you have anything thinner, or even for any larger size, you could just sear one side and serve it seared side up. Nobody will much care about the bottom and there is less chance of overcooking.
Add the tomatoes (and the skin and bloodline meat if you wish) to the pan and sauté over medium heat until they just start to split open. Add the white wine and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half. Add the reserved marinade, capers, black olives and basil and cook over medium heat until it starts to get thick. (This is a good point to pause if you want to start your meal with a salad!)
A couple of minutes before the tomato mixture is done, put the fish into the oven and cook until done. We prefer to use a probe thermometer and will cook it to about 120 degrees in the middle. At that point it is not quite done. We always serve on hot plates so the fish continues to rise in temperature for some bit of time and is perfect when served. There are varying opinions about the proper temperature to which to cook swordfish. We have seen everything from 120 degrees to 170 degrees which seems very odd indeed. Do it to your taste, and see the cooking notes below.
Just before serving, reduce the tomato sauce until it is relatively thick. The tomatoes will start to caramelize but don't go too far or it will burn. The picture above shows the fish in the pan with the sauce . We don't actually cook the fish in the sauce. We just put the steak back in the pan to show the completed dish.
Serve the fish with sauce on top. Instant couscous (we also like to add some frozen peas) makes a nice side dish. Rice would also be good.
Cooking Notes. The FDA advises that seafood be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people find that to be to be too high a temperature and we have cooked ours to 125 degrees (though there will be a continuing rise in temperature after the fish is taken out of the oven). Use your own discretion and personal circumstances when deciding how to cook fish, or any other item. We are huge fans of probe thermometers but they are not essential. Especially with smaller cuts, if the probe isn't positioned just right you'll get an incorrect reading.
WINE SUGGESTION: Great with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon