Messina Straits swordfish with tomatoes and onions

Sicilian Swordfish Steaks


Sicilian swordfish with tomatoes and onions


Sicily gets into your blood

This week I’m taking a little trip down (my) memory lane with this swordfish steak dish. I love this recipe for baking the fish with a coating of breadcrumbs, almonds and parsley! It was difficult to take a good photo of it, but I hope you can get an idea of what it looks like once its cooked.

A few years ago we visited Sicily; that island that looks as though it’s being kicked towards the African continent by the toe of Italy.  When you look at a map of Italy in that way, you realize that the Italians were destined to become completely football mad.  It’s in the shape of their country already! Ok, it’s true that the island of Sicily looks like a ball that has a very serious air issue, but still…..anyway, back to the subject I’m meant to be writing about: you may remember my ravings a few years back about how wonderfully fabulous Sicily was. If you don’t, you should probably breathe a sigh of relief as I squashed Sicily into nearly every post I wrote for months afterwards.  If you are afraid that you may have missed something monumental, you can read some of the old posts by clicking on this link about pasta alla Norma, and here on how to make caponata, a delicious vegetarian dish made of eggplant.



swordfish ingredients


How Sicilians catch the swordfish

Swordfish are caught between May and August, when they are swimming through the Straits of Messina, the channel between Sicily and mainland Italy, on their way to and fro from breeding grounds in the warmer, shallower part of the Mediterranean Sea. The traditional way of hunting for swordfish in this area goes back thousands of years.  The boats have a tall tower, which can be up to 30 metres high, sticking up in the middle of them.  One person who does the job of the spotter stays in a cage at the top of this tower and looks for the swordfish.  Once they spot them, the chase is on! Swordfish can swim at speeds up to 100 km/h (about 60 mph), so the hunt is not an easy one.  Using these traditional methods, many swordfish managed to escape the fishermens’ clutches, so the species continued to prosper.  Nowadays, with the rise of those terrible driftnets that catch everything in their path, and long-lines, the Mediterranean swordfish population has started to decline.  So, if you decide to buy swordfish steaks, check first that they have been fished in a sustainable way!



swordfish ready to bake


Travel photo of the week

The photos below were taken in the beautiful Sicilian town of Siracusa on the Eastern coast.  If you look not very carefully, I’m doing a “Where’s Waldo” impression at the market. That market was so incredible!  I stuffed my hand-luggage with so many goodies that it nearly burst at the seams!



Siracusa, Sicily. At the market


Swordfish staks at the Sircusa market in Italy


By Lisa Watson


Sicilian Swordfish steaks

Find out how Sicilians catch swordfish sustainably, and how to make a traditional Sicilian swordfish steak recipe on Italian Kiwi
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 people


  • 2 Swordfish fillets
  • 2 Tomatoes medium-sized
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Almonds
  • 1 handful Parsley leaves about 40 g
  • 2 Tbsp Capers
  • 6 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  • Put 4 Tbsp of the olive oil into an oven-proof dish. Slice the onion and scatter the slices to cover the bottom of the dish.
  • Place the swordfish fillets on top of the onion.
  • Chop the tomatoes and scatter them over the swordfish.
  • Add the capers.
  • Chop the almonds coarsely. Chop the parsley. Mix these two ingredients with the breadcrumbs, then sprinkle the fillets with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 -25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the swordfish fillets.
  • Turn the oven to broil and grill the top until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
  • Serve immediately.