The expression “What’s in a name?” could not be more out of place than with describing swordfish: a fish with a sword on its nose. Once beheaded though it is just a big black skinned cylinder with a strong tail. Buying fresh swordfish is not all that evident. It may actually require a trip to Sicily. Where the heads are a fundamental ornament for local fish stalls.
Purchasing frozen slices is a valid option. Check the label carefully. The Mediterranean type is by far the tastiest.
With no small bones, only a big backbone, it is loved by children and fuzzy eaters. The versatility in preparing makes it a product loved by cooks. The name ‘swordfish’ crowns it all. The mighty sword, the fierce reputation somehow gets transmitted in those who eat the fish.
The easiest way of preparing is grilling. Simply. Season the swordfish with olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Make sure to have grill lines. Apart being scenic, it does add to the overall taste.
If the quality is beyond good, you may prepare it raw. Marinated in lemon and oil.
Swordfish is not a cheap fish so be sure to serve appetizers and pasta before turning up with the main dish. If you have ravenous guests, highlight the delicacy of the fish. That makes them look uncouth rather than you being cheap.
Frozen food is good
It is not easy to obtain good fresh swordfish. Not even in Sicily. So when not sure about the quality, better stick to frozen fish.
Frozen fish comes in rather thick slices. Which makes them useless for ‘involtini’. It is though excellent to grill or use in pasta dishes. Or caponata.
Pay close attention to the label. Go for the Mediterranean type. Which is by far the tastiest.
Skin and bone
Swordfish has little waste. Apart from the big backbone and the skin.
The black skin does contrast nicely with flesh. So leave it on when serving grilled fish. Make sure to remove it when using diced fish. The same goes for the backbone. Leave it when preparing an entire slice. Otherwise, get rid.
Swordfish in Sicily
Swordfish is very loved in Sicily. Grilled fish is on most restaurant menus.
Pasta with swordfish and aubergine is a classic in the Sicilian cuisine. A festive dish that pleases and comforts.
The rolls are a must-eat. Fine slices are stuffed with and fried. Or baked. They come under the name ‘involtini‘.