Swordfish Bagnara Style

I buy swordfish maybe twice a year, it's always too thick and meaty for me and tends to dry out, unless you know how to cook it just right.

This was fresh and beautiful in my market, so decided to take the plunge and make pesce spada Bagnara style.
Translates to: Swordfish steamed in a garlic broth.

If we are being honest here, and I always say it like it is..........................this is the best damn way to prepare swordfish, and I will never make it another way again.

This recipe is from the wonderful book MY CALABRIA.

Calabria is a place that knows swordfish, the little town of Bagnara has a swordfish festival every July, and this fish is their livelihood. It is the main staple for Calabrians, besides eggplant, tomatoes and cauliflower.

I have made the Pesce Spada on Paccheri Pasta from the book, and it was also simple and wonderful.

You don't want your fish too thick, about 1 /14" thickness at most.

It was a bit of a challenge finding a casserole w/ lid to fit, and then a roasting pan to go on the stove.
But I rigged up my 9" Pyrex pie dish, found a lid from an All-Clad pan to fit, then fit that little makeshift pan into a 14" All-Clad skillet.

Then I had to hold the lid down with my pot holder, because all the bubbling activity going on, made the lid want to come right off.

Are you still with me?
I will explain in the instructions.

This was light, moist and wonderful. I served it with broccoli from my garden, and poured the extra garlic broth right over the steamed broccoli.

Don't let the simple photos fool you, this was packed with beautiful, bold flavors.


Pesce Spada Bagnarese (Swordfish Bagnara Style): adapted from the beautiful book My Calabria

for 2 people

1 lb. swordfish steak (1 1/4" thickness), cut in half for 2 people
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
1 garlic clove, sliced super thin
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped

You will need a casserole dish with a lid to fit the fish, then another pan to fit the casserole to go on the stove for the steaming.

About an hour before, lay the fish in a casserole dish (I used a 9" pie plate) and add all the ingredients to the dish.
Cover with a tight lid or aluminum foil.

Now, in a large enough roasting pan or skillet (I used a 14" skillet) to hold the casserole, place the covered casserole in the middle and carefully add water into the roasting pan, about half way up the sides. Like a bain Marie.

Turn on the stove and get the water boiling, you will most likely have to hold the lid down, since it wants to come off (the water will get into your fish casserole dish). Turn down the flame to simmer, so the casserole dish stays put.

Steam the fish for about 8 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls with the garlicky broth and crusty bread.

So simple, and delicious.


Pin It


Ciao Chow Linda said…
I love this recipe Stacey - and everything in that book actually. I'll be making this sometime soon.
Anonymous said…
Isn't that just the most wonderful book! Your fish looks beautiful.
Adri said…
Isn't that just the most wonderful book! Your fish looks beautiful
I love this idea and you had me sold with the bread and the broth! I'm, catching bass and will try this way.
I have that book I got it as a gift, I'm taking it off my shelf and will make this, I love new ideas with fish. Your side dish looks yummy too. Nice healthy meal Stace!
Christine said…
This sounds so good! Definitely bookmarking this. Plus it wouldn't heat the kitchen up much at all!
How interesting! This looks lovely and I bet it's Summery and delicious. I will try this next time I get some swordfish....