Pistachio Crusted Swordfish with Stuffed Artichokes

The Mediterranean waters off Sicily are teeming with swordfish and anchovies, and the island’s fertile land is ripe with pistachio trees, artichokes, and lemon groves. This recipe combines those flavors and offers two dishes in a single effort with the pistachio crust doubling as a stuffing for artichoke hearts on the side.
Pistachio Crusted Swordfish with Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 2 swordfish steaks
  • ½ cup raw shelled pistachios
  • ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and split in half
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest separated
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • neutral olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Remove swordfish packaging, place on a paper towel-lined plate or tray on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Allow about 12 hours, and once thawed, give a good pat-down with paper towels to remove any remaining moisture before cooking.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Toast fennel seeds and pistachios in a sauté pan for a few minutes over medium-heat to release their aroma, but do not brown. Transfer to a food processor and pulse together until the consistency of coarse sand. Add breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Take half of the pistachio mixture and spread out on a plate to dredge the swordfish steaks.
  4. Blot swordfish dry with a paper towel and trim off the skin.
  5. On a cutting board mince garlic cloves and anchovies together, as fine as possible. Alternate between chopping the anchovy/garlic and scraping it against the board until a fine paste forms. Take ½ teaspoon of anchovy/garlic paste and set aside for later.
  6. Lay out artichoke halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Coat the inside of the artichokes with anchovy paste. Fill the interior of the artichokes with the reserved pistachio mixture, then drizzle each artichoke with olive oil and finish with lemon zest.
  7. Place the artichokes on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan with neutral olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Season swordfish steaks with salt and pepper, and cover with olive oil. Dredge each swordfish steak in the pistachio mixture and place in the pan.
  10. Sauté the swordfish steaks until brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the pistachios; make sure the heat is not too high and flip the fish as soon as it begins to turn golden. Transfer the browned swordfish steaks to a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack. Place in the oven to finish cooking, an additional 5 minutes or until desired doneness.
  11. Wipe the sauté pan clean and return to the burner over medium flame. Add a little olive oil along with the reserved anchovy paste. Add ⅓ cup of white wine, reduce by half. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter until incorporated, add juice of ½ lemon. Remove from the flame and add 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. In a metal bowl, dress spinach with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
  13. Remove the swordfish from the oven, then move the artichokes up to the top rack and broil slightly, just enough to brown the breadcrumbs. Remove artichokes, then turn off the oven.
  14. Place the metal bowl with spinach in the oven to wilt the greens in the residual heat, about 3-4 minutes.
  15. Plate either individually or on a platter. Begin with the wilted spinach; toss with tongs and pull from the bowl so any liquid remains behind. Arrange swordfish steaks and artichokes on top of spinach and finish the top of both the fish and artichokes with the pan sauce.