Sicilian Swordfish with Sweet-and-Sour Vegetables
- For the Vegetables:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound cipollini onions, peeled
- 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and diced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound assorted small heirloom tomatoes
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and chopped
- 3 tablespoons brine-packed capers, plus 1 tablespoon brine
- For the Fish:
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 3/4 -to-1-pound swordfish steaks (about 1 1/4 inches thick)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
Prepare the vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fennel and cook until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sugar and season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the vinegar, garlic and 1 cup water; bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onions are tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the fish: Finely chop the pine nuts by hand. Mix the nuts, lemon zest, parsley, and sea salt and pepper to taste on a cutting board. Pat the swordfish dry and brush with olive oil on both sides. Press the fish into the nut mixture, turning to coat.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat. When the oil shimmers, lay the fish in the pan and cook, undisturbed, until golden on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until just golden on the other side, 3 to 4 more minutes. Using tongs, lay each swordfish steak on its side to sear the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Turn the fish so the lighter side is down and cook until just firm to the touch, 6 to 8 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
While the fish rests, finish the vegetables: Add the tomatoes, oregano, capers and brine to the onions and cook until the tomatoes soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Photograph by Con Poulos