Pesce Spada all’ Isolana
Today’s recipe comes straight from the Western coast of Italy.
I remember eating it in Livorno and Isola d’Elba when I was growing up, the smell and the color of it (yes, the taste too) make me think about the old Medici Harbor…the noise of the fishing boats, the continuos mumbling (and hard core cursing) in dialect of the workers at the dock. My father used to keep a small boat there when I was growing up, and he used to drag me with him for “week-end-scheduled-mantainance-and-cleaning”…I used to ask myself: “Why is Mom staying home?”.
I eventually figured that out. However, the memories I have of those week ends are now worth a treasure in my heart: my first fishing experiences, the hours of cleaning under the scorching heat listening to The Beatles, my first Cecina (thin garbanzo bean flour bread)…my first beers!!!
Livorno is also very famous for another, even more traditional recipe, their Caciucco… an intense and memorable fish soup that deserves its own episode on this show…will do!
Wash thoroughly all the seafood, scrub and remove the beards from the mussels.
Wash the cherry tomatoes and chop them in halves, wash the pepper, remove the seeds and the white from the inside, and then cut it into medium-large slices.
Preheat the oven to 400 Fº. Lay some aluminum foil in two Pyrex pans big enough to accommodate easily all your fish.
Place the shellfish in a pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 clove of garlic finely chopped, and sauté’ for about 5 minutes. Drain the shellfish and set it aside on a plate, and discard all unopened ones.
Saute’ the shrimps the same way, and set aside.
In a large non-stick pan, sauté the remaining 3 cloves of garlic in about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes, stir well, and after a couple of minutes add the pepper. Season with salt and pepper. When the sauce starts thickening, add the shellfish and the shrimps, season with some parsley, stir well and, on a medium flame, let it cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add the black olives at the very last, cook the sauce for another 5 minutes and turn off the flame.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick pan, and place the swordfish steaks in it. Braise them for about 3-5 minutes each side on a medium-high flame, and then move them into the Pyrex pans.
Pour the seafood sauce on the steaks, sprinkle with some fresh parsley, and cover well with a layer of aluminum foil, fold it and seal the hedges. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Tip - If you like the “fresh” feel of the sauce, stick with the cherry tomatoes…but if you’d like to make it juicier, try using a 12Oz can of Peeled Tomatoes.
Debi and Gabriele