Chef Box Series: Swordfish Puttanesca
Swordfish is just as popular in Italy as it is along the New England coast. The meaty swordfish steaks take on the bright and savory flavors of this puttanesca sauce beautifully. Just breading one side of the fish is a brilliant hack for giving you a wonderfully crisp coating that won’t get soggy in the sauce. Brining the fish before cooking (see the video here) will help you avoid the main pitfall of cooking swordfish — drying out the steaks.
For the breading
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cup panko bread crumbs
For the swordfish
- 1 pound swordfish, sliced to make two thinner pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salt
For the puttanesca
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 3 fillets salted black anchovies (add 5 or 6 if you really enjoy the flavor of salted anchovies like I do)
- 1 quart pureed canned tomato
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ cup Castelvetrano olives, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Whisk the eggs and add in the 2 tablespoons of water. Set that aside in a container. In separate containers, place the flour and the panko crumbs next to each.
Dip one side of the swordfish in the flour, then the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Leave the breadcrumb size facing up and set it aside.
Warm a pan and add in a quarter cup of olive oil. Heat the oil until it starts to shimmer but not quite smoke. Season the swordfish with the salt and place the breaded side down in the shimmering oil. Lower the heat slightly and let the breadcrumbs lightly fry. As soon as they get some color, put the pan in the oven to cook for approximately 5 minutes.
When the breading is browned, turn the fish and cook on the other side until it's cooked through, approximately 3-5 more minutes. Swordfish is cooked through when a cake tester inserted horizontally through the flesh of the fish meets little to no resistance (See video). Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.
If there is enough oil left, add the sliced garlic and the anchovy filets. Add a tablespoon of additional oil if needed. Cook the garlic slowly so it doesn’t brown at all and allow the anchovies to break down. Add in the tomato and cook it down by half.
Turn the heat off and add the capers, olives and lemon juice. Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning if needed. At the last second, add the oregano and pour it over the swordfish.