Pescespada Nell 'Olio d' Oliva - Swordfish in olive oil


Many people reminded me that I did not provide the recipe for swordfish in olive oil in my first book, which appeared on the television program. It is a very simple recipe that relies on submerging the fish in a bath of good quality oil heated to no more than 40 50'C (100 120°F). You may have to turn the flame on and off to maintain the heat. The heat on the bottom of the pot is a little stronger than the heat of the oil itself. It is this interplay of temperatures that cooks the fish on the outside only and reasonably quickly.

It is important that the fish be fresh. Even a few hours too old may impart an unattractive odour to fish flesh. There is also a question of what to do with leftover oil. If you chill it, you can reuse it or use it to cook the octopus on page 5o. Once again, there is not much point cooking a recipe only once and spending time and money on it. instead, your refrigerator should be a working refrigerator, with food coming from and going into it.

Serves 6



1 L (4 cups) extra virgin olive oil, or more
1 head garlic, cut in half across
1 kg (2 lb) swordfish, in one piece


Heat the oil with the garlic in a deep sided, non stick heavy based pot. Test the temperature with your finger if it gets too hot, turn the heat down or off. Add the fish. Turn the fish around a few times, so that all the sides are in contact with the bottom of the pot, which is hotter.

The fish will take a few minutes to cook evenly on the outside. Remove it from the oil and let it rest. When you cut it, it should be cooked on the outside without flaking and the middle should be pink. I serve it with grilled vegetables and a mayonnaise. It can be served with tossed leaves or a potato salad.

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