Olive-Oil-Poached Swordfish and Tomatoes with Olives and Capers

July 14, 2010
Author Notes

For about a decade, I'd been meaning to make a swordfish dish I'd heard about from an editor friend back in NYC: a thick round slowly poached in a big pot of olive oil with capers. But I never got around to olive oil poaching until I tried Amanda's shrimp a la Bittman. I loved it-- it was a success and a hit. So simple, so good. So I decided to try the method on swordfish at last, using flavors that may seem no-brainerish: lemon, capers, garlic, olives, tomato. I decided not to let that stop me since we never really use our entire brain anyway. This is so easy and delicious, and as one of my pictures shows, it was gobbled up by the man who lives here, who claims not to like fish. The dog liked it, too. —EmilyNunn

  • Serves 2
  • extra virgin olive oil, several cups
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup oil cured black olives, pitted and quartered
  • 2 pieces swordfish, 6-8 ounces
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, or a mixture
  • sea salt, about 1/2 tsp, and freshly ground pepper
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 250. Place several cups of olive oil in a Dutch oven with a lid. Warm over very low heat; add garlic cloves, capers, olives. Place swordfish steaks in oil; you may need to move the garlic cloves around so that the fish rests evenly, but it is fine for the fish to lie on the capers. Add more olive oil to cover entire surface of fish by at least the height of a caper. Season with salt and a little freshly ground pepper.
  2. Place in oven, with lid. Let cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for 10 to 15 more minutes until done; it should still have a bit of translucence in the middle. (As Amanda has pointed out: 30 minutes for a 1 inch thick piece of fish--mine was a little thicker).
  3. For beauty's sake, use a knife blade to lightly scrape and lift away the lovely fat that has oozed to the top side of the fish and discard. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon; cover loosely with tinfoil and set aside. .
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes, about half of the capers and all of the olives to a saucepan. Discard the garlic. Crush some of the tomatoes, which will be soft and juicy. Turn heat on to medium low. Season with lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Add a little of the remaining olive oil if necessary. Let simmer a bit to thicken. Adjust flavors. You can add more lemon! Spoon sauce prettily over each piece of fish and serve.
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