"Lunchbag" Swordfish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Linguini

The recipe makes more tomato sauce than you will need for the fish. It is delicious as a pasta sauce, a topping for bruschetta, or a sauce or side dish for grilled poultry or meat. For the best flavor, use garden fresh tomatoes.
Save Recipe
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings; makes about 1 quart sauce
Share This Recipe


3 cups vine-ripened plum (Roma) tomatoes, cored and cut into thin wedges

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup (1 small) minced red onion

2 tablespoons rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped capers

1/2 cup roasted red or yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped

12 pitted and sliced Greek olives (such as kalamata or Gaeta olives)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons pepper olive oil or 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound dried linguini

4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks


Special equipment:
4 brown paper lunch bags or 4 large sheets parchment paper or waxed paper (see note)
  1. Put tomatoes in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add oregano, parsley, garlic, onion, capers, peppers, olives, lemon juice, pepper oil, and 4 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil. Stir gently just to mix and set aside at least 1 hour. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Mixture will become more liquid and sauce-like over time. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook linguini until al dente. Drain and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Reserve. 
  4. To cook the fish: (See Chef's Note below if using waxed paper.) Place a small square of parchment or waxed paper at the bottom of each paper bag. Place small pile of linguini in each of the bags. Top with a spoonful of tomato sauce, making sure to moisten the linguini with the juices. Lay a piece of fish on top and arrange with another spoonful of sauce. Moisten again with juices from the sauce and season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Fold over the tops of the bags, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. 
  6. To serve, transfer the bags to 4 dinner plates and let each diner cut open the package to enjoy the aromas.

Cook’s Note

To make waxed or parchment paper "bags": Fold 4 large sheets of paper in half. With the fold as the spine, cut a large semicircle (about an 8-inch radius) with one end more pointed than the other (opened out, the shape resembles a heart). Open the circles. Layers the ingredients in the center of the paper as instructed above. Leave a 1-inch border of paper clear. Close the parchment over the fish. Starting at the flatter end of the semicircle, firmly fold the edge inwards. Fold entire edge into a series of tight, flat, overlapping pleats to enclose the fish. Fold the last pleat several times and tuck it under the bag. Put the bags on a baking sheet and bake in the oven 12 to 15 minutes. The bags will puff up and brown. Waxed paper is a nice touch to make the cooking bags because you can see the colors of the sauce through it.