Swordfish with fennel-saffron compote

Feeling adventurous? Why not serve your fish with a saffron compote.

  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time15 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the fish

4 (225g) swordfish steaks (about 2.5cm thick)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large ripe yellow or red tomato
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

For the compote

40g pine nuts
85ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 large strips lemon peel
1.25 tsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 tsp fennel seeds
Pinch saffron threads
Freshly ground black pepper
50g sultanas
60ml water
3 tbsps chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the fish:
1) Prepare a barbecue with a high fire. Brush the fish with oil and sprinkle with the cayenne and salt to taste. Lay the fish on the griddle and leave it until you can see distinct marks and can lift the fish without its sticking, about 2 minutes. (Test by gently lifting a corner; if it sticks, cook a bit longer.)

2) When it lifts cleanly, rotate about 45 degrees from the original position (don't turn it over). Cook about another 2 minutes, until griddle marks appear. Flip the fish and repeat this process for marking the fish on the other side, another 3 to 4 minutes.

For the compote:
1) Toast the pine nuts in the olive oil in a pan over high heat, swirling the pan until the nuts are golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a dish with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the oil behind in the pan.

2) Add the onion, fennel, garlic, lemon peel, 1.25 tsp salt, fennel seeds, saffron and black pepper to taste and cook until the onion and fennel are slightly wilted, about 2 minutes.

3) Add the sultanas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture browns and softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in 60ml water, the pine nuts and the parsley.

4) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and the compote thickens, about 1 minute more. Set aside.

5) Cut the tomato into thick slices, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and divide among 4 plates. Place the fish on top of the tomato slices, spoon some compote over, and serve with a wedge of lemon.

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