Tuesday, 27 September 2011
In Sicily, my native land (I can say that even though I was born in Florida and I’m practically becoming an Aussie now…but that’s where my family roots are from and recently had my second wedding to my hubby...I have always been very proud of my Sicilian roots and the inevitable beauty and charm of the land and it’s people) one of the prides is their food; it’s serious business, as it is all over Italy. Sicily, being in the south is a bit lazier and laid back but is certainly firmer in keeping with old traditions. Shops close for lunch and everyone is home for lunch cooked by Mamma. Maybe the Milanese opt for a quick bite near the office but the Sicilian’s, I am afraid, are not in the same rush to get back to work. We also have much better weather in the south; our land is rich in it’s people, the soil and it’s traditions. Living here in Sydney I come across many Sicilian people who are even from towns only a mile away from mine.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, first settled by the Phoenicians and Saracens, we date our history back to Greek Mythology and in ancient times we were the bread basket of civilization. We were also the last to come out of feudalism and of course Hollywood made us famous or infamous for the Godfather. Sicily is famous for it’s blood oranges, cassata Siciliana, arancini, tuna, cannoli and thousands of other dishes. In fact, this summer I was lucky to take the whole family to an original Sicilian restaurant few would ever come across, with original recipes that date back hundreds of years. If you are ever booking a trip to Italy and would like to visit the magical island of Sicily please do, you will only come back from your trip delighted. Oh, and if you rent a car there might be a little frustration; as my hubby would say they drive like crazy, and yes they do. I will tell you this, Taormina is a must, Catania, Palermo and Syracuse are beautiful, as well as the western coast of Trapani…if you are a boat lover you must go to the Eolie Islands right off the eastern coast of Sicily. The island of Vulcano has beautiful mud baths and just a hop away is Panarea, where you can party all night or Lipari, which is just the most beautiful of them all.
Now back to my recipe, I have decided to call it Swordfish Siciliana…
You will find many dishes in Sicily to be made with pinenuts, raisins, anchovies, etc.
This recipe, again, is a piece of cake and not messy at all...I don’t like cooking messy things if you haven't noticed. Go to your local fish market or fish shop and ask for a thick slice of Swordfish...some people think that swordfish meat is tough, but it is only true if you grill it and if the slice of fish is too thin.
1 piece of swordfish per person
Pinenuts - handful
Raisins – handful
1 glass of white wine
2 garlic cloves – coarsely chopped
1 large vine tomato
Fennel herb – freshly chopped
Parsley – freshly chopped
‘Chefs Recipe Organic Sicilian Style Seafood Seasoning’ - I like using it because it has a nice blend of all the spices I need (garlic, basil, fennel seed, red pepper, lemon myrtle, black whole pepper and Himalayan Pink Salt)
First turn the oven on and pre-heat it to 180 degrees Celsius…in an oven safe tray lay some foil, then place the swordfish pieces and drizzle a bit of olive oil over them. Place the chopped tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, shallots, the anchovy cut up, capers (washes and desalted) and garlic over the swordfish. Sprinkle an abundant amount of your ‘Sicilian Seafood Seasoning’, pour the white wine over and close the foil.
Place it in the over for 15 minutes and it’s ready (swordfish cooked this way will remain moist and not have that tough consistency.) If you feel that it has not cooked enough take a bite off one piece, close the foil back up again and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
I like to serve this dish with less traditional Sicilian sides, so I made corn on the cob and baked potatoes. My baked potatoes are truly an American influence.
I wash the potatoes and wrap them in foil, leaving the skin on. I make a cross on them with a knife before I close the foil to allow the heat in. They take about 30 minutes, so it is the first thing I do.
Then when they are ready I add sour cream, small chopped bacon bits and shallots…
Here is our full meal before it got eaten… so sorry for the sloppy photo; I had to be quick before it was devoured…