Sicilians really do love their fish and especially their swordfish. Sicily’s enviable position surrounded by three seas explains why fish holds such a revered place in their cuisine. Their passion and skill in preparing fish is, in my mind, unmatched. Whether simply grilled or paired with the freshest of ingredients, the Sicilians know how to bring out the freshest flavors of the sea. On my visits to Sicily, we would frequently visit the little village of Forza d’Agro, high up in the hills with a knockout view of the Mediterranean and one of the locations where the Godfather II and III were filmed. The two restaurants off the magical main piazza served the FRESHEST of fish. The highlight for me was always their Involtini di Pesce Spada (Swordfish Rolls). The tasty rolls were filled with the classic Sicilian filling of breadcrumbs, pine nuts, and currants and then lightly sauteed or grilled….always the highlight of the meal for me.
I was very fortunate to have my brother in town this past weekend so together we decided on these involtini for dinner and together we sliced and rolled. So very fun to have us together! I am always amazed how well we cook together considering how much we fought in the kitchen as kids :o)). (Love you, Joey!)
Involtini di Pesce Spada (Sicilian Swordfish Rolls)
- About 1 pound of swordfish
- 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs, toasted, divided
- 3 tablespoons currants or small raisins
- 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
- 3 tablespoons of small vinegar-packed capers
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons (or more) of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra lemon
1. Preheat the grill. Slice the swordfish into thin slices crosswise. (Your fishmonger may be willing to slice for you.) Using a mallet, lightly pound the slices to thin them a bit.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the breadcrumbs, currants, pine nuts, capers and zest. Mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well. If too dry, add a bit more olive oil. (The oil should help moisten the crumbs and allow them to stick together slightly.) Season with salt and pepper.
3. Spoon filling down the center of each swordfish slice and roll up. Secure the roll with toothpicks to hold together.
4. Brush each roll with a bit of olive oil. Roll in the remaining breadcrumbs.
5. Brush grill with olive oil so the rolls do not stick. Grill the swordfish rolls for a few minutes until cooked through – about 5 minutes.
6. Serve with lots of extra lemon.
7. Bon appetito!