A little goes a long way in this stew. Vaguely Sicilian, it uses swordfish chunks, trimmings that our local fishmonger sells for less than the steaks. No bargain, of course, since high quality seafood is understandably dear. But cut into ¾-inch pieces, it seems like a generous amount of fish. The stew is great to make at this time of year when fresh tomatoes are abundant, but canned plum tomatoes work just fine for winter fare. The base of onions, celery and tomatoes is made piquant by the addition of salty capers, orange zest, and green olives. It’s a great combination.
I’ve baked this under a crust of puff pastry (before cooking the fish) and served it (fully cooked) over thin pasta. Here, since the gluten-frees stopped by, I thought crispy potatoes would do the trick. This is basically Pommes Anna (should be pommes de terre) with thyme. The crispness of the potatoes was a perfect foil for the soft and slightly sweet swordfish, and we gobbled up the combination in no time
Swordfish and Tomato Stew with Celery and Green Olives
1 lb swordfish
1 medium onion, chopped in about ¼-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped in ¼-in pieces (more to taste)
8-10 plum tomatoes, chopped (or a can of plum tomatoes, at least 15 oz)
1 tbsp capers
A handful of green olives, pitted or not, to your taste (you could also chop them coarsely)
1 tsp orange zest
3 tbsp chopped parsley
Optional: cubed summer squash or zucchini
Trim the swordfish of any skin or very dark pieces, and cut it into ¾-inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet that has a lid, and add the onion and celery. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the celery has softened. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer until the tomatoes have broken down into a saucy state. The dish can be made ahead to this point.
With the tomato sauce at a simmer, add the swordfish, olives and orange zest, cover with the lid, and let cook over medium low heat until the swordfish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
If including the summer squash or zucchini, cube it into 1/4 –inch pieces and sauté it until browned in a little olive oil and set aside.
When the swordfish is cooked through, remove the lid and add the capers, parsley and the summer squash or zucchini if using.
Serve immediately over pasta or crisp potatoes. Makes about four servings.
Crispy Potato Cake
About 2 lb potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), sliced 1/16 inch thick
3-4 tbsp melted butter
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a one-quart shallow baking dish (I used enameled cast iron). Arrange potatoes slices evenly in a circle on the bottom. Brush with butter, sprinkle with salt and thyme and repeat until all of the slices are used. Baked uncovered until crispy on the outside and fully cooked through, about 25 minutes. Unmold on a flat plate and cut into wedges.