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Italian Summer

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A dear friend of mine joined me for dinner this week, and I wanted to make something on the lighter side with an Italian flair. “Definitely something with fish,” I thought. I fingered through the entree section of my favorite cookbook, Seriously Simple, and found an easy and delicious-looking recipe for Swordfish Milanese. I thought this would be perfect to pair with a Caprese salad, which I have been craving since heirlooms started gracing the stands in the farmers market a couple of weeks ago. And just to put a little something extra on the plate, I cooked up some fresh lemon-pepper linguine and tossed it in garlic, olive oil, butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. I served the swordfish on top of the pasta and the flavors from the fish dripped into the pasta, blending everything together. Delicious!

Caprese Salad

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ball of Burrata cheese (or Mozzarella if you want to save some money), sliced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 TB aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB good quality olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

This salad is all about quality, fresh ingredients. I purchased expensive ($4 per tomato) heirlooms and basil at my local farmers market, but they were worth it. I also used local Burrata from Berkeley, which was especially delectable and only $4 for two balls of cheese. I guess the cost evens out.

Layer the cheese and basil on top of tomato slices, arranging on a large plate. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and evenly scatter salt and pepper on top. Simple and delicious, the perfect summer salad.

Garlic-Parmesan Linguine

  • 2 cups of fresh linguine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

I purchased this particular lemon-pepper linguine from Home Maid Ravioli, but you can usually find fresh pasta in the refrigerated section (where the cheese and yogurt is) of your local grocery store or gourmet grocery. If you’re looking to make your own pasta, you should scour Panini Girl’s blog for a recipe, as she is the best Italian-American cook I know (and my “godmother”). I’ve never made fresh pasta, and from the looks of Top Chef it seems very easy to mess up. Unless I get a chance to take Panini Girl’s Cooking Class, I’ll stick with the store-bought kind. In any case, this is a quick and easy “sauce” that goes well with fresh pasta without overpowering the flavors and texture of the noodles.

Freshly made pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, so you can begin the sauce right after you put the pasta in the pot of boiling water (lower the heat to medium once you add the pasta). Simply heat the olive oil and butter in a small sauce pan, add the garlic and stir over medium heat for a few minutes. It’s okay if the garlic starts to burn because you will remove it from the pan before adding the pasta. Once the pasta is ready, toss into the pan using tongs, adding parmesan, salt and pepper. This is my version of the little kid classic, “noodles with butter”.

Swordfish Milanese

  • 2 medium-sized swordfish steaks, skinned and pounded to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (I prefer whole wheat if you can find them)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 lemon, quartered

The prep work can be done for this one hour ahead of time, then you just put it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. It only takes about 4 minutes to cook, so I waited until everything else was ready to cook the fish.

You can ask your butcher to pound the swordfish down to 1/4 inch, or you can just put it in a plastic ziplock bag (or between plastic wrap) and pound it with the back of a heavy frying pan or pot.

In a shallow baking dish, combine bread crumbs, seasoning salt and pepper. Coat each swordfish steak with the whisked egg, and then cover evenly in the bread crumb mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to one hour before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a medium size-skillet over a high-medium flame. Once smoking, add the swordfish steaks and cook for exactly 1 minute on each side. They cook quickly, and you want them to be a little pink in the middle. Serve over a linguine and garnish with lemon.

This is such an easy fish dish and so delicious! If you want to add some extra flavor, throw in some fresh herbs with the bread crumb mixture. This would also be good as leftovers served chilled over an arugula salad with cherry tomatoes. I’m certainly going to be making this again, and perhaps I will also try something other than swordfish.

We were booze-free for this meal, but I would suggest pairing with a light white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Albarino.

Buon appetito!

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

2 responses »

  1. This looks like a great way to make Swordfish – I tend to get stuck on the same old way, can’t wait to try it!

  2. I love that you posted this recipe. I’ve only had swordfish prepared this way once and it was at a restaurant in SF. I Swordfish is my favorite and I”m going to make this for sure. Thanks Kels!


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