Rolled Swordfish Spiedini
Involtini di Pesce Spada – Spitini ri Pisci Spata
swordfish is a typical catch in the Straight of Messina, and the local fishermen specialize in the catching of
them, which happens between the month of May and September. In Sicily the swordfish is prepared in many
different ways: most popular alla carbonella, barbequed, in sauce or
as a spiedino. The rolled swordfish spiedini are prepared in two versions; in Messina and in the Eastern part of
Sicily, the stuffing is made with breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley, in Palermo the stuffing is enriched by
onions, garlic, anchovies, pine nuts, raisins, and aromatized with parsley, oregano and bay
Following the recipe we used at our focacceria in Brooklyn,
which is the way my family cooked at home, with the exception that we did not add any cheese as most people do
Serves 4 to 5
· 2 ½ lb. swordfish, cut into 5 slices
· 1 cup of olive
· 1 medium size onion, finely
· 2 cloves of garlic
· 3 cups of
· 4 anchovy fillets, chopped. If
salted wash salt out
· Juice of 2
· ½ tablespoons of
· 2 oz. pine
· 2 oz. chopped raisins,
previously soaked in warm water
· Salt and pepper
· ½ teaspoon of oregano
· 1 large red onions quartered and
· 10 thin slices of lemon
· An oiled pan 12 inches X 9
· Quartered lemons for
Rinse swordfish slices with cold water; cut each slice of swordfish in two pieces, cut off the tips and reserve any
trimming for the filling.
One at a time, place each piece between two sheets
of plastic wrap and lightly beat it with a mallet to flatten the slices to the same thickness of about ½ inch.
Transfer onto a baking tray lined with paper towels, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and set
Chop the swordfish trimmings; in a heavy skillet warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a
medium heat, add the garlic and trimming and sauté for about 5 minutes. Set on the side in a large
Use the same skillet to sauté the onions and
anchovies in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and after 5 minutes add 1 cup of breadcrumbs and cook for additional 5
minutes; set on the side in the bowl with the trimmings.
When breadcrumbs cool off, add the juice of 1 lemon, sugar, pine nuts, raisins and parsley.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, if it is too dry add some olive oil; it is too soft add some
Gently pat the swordfish slices with paper towels
to dry, place 1 tablespoon of breadcrumb mixture on the large side of each fillet, fold and roll up; secure with
a toothpick to hold the spiedino together.
Pour the remaining breadcrumbs into a wide
container, add the oregano, the juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste and mix it well; in a shallow container transfer the remaining olive oil and have handy the onion peels, the
bay leaves and the slices of lemon.
Dip each piece into the oil and thoroughly cover
on all sides. Then transfer into the container with the breadcrumbs and lightly coat them. Arrange rolled
swordfish in the oiled pan and alternate a peel of onion and a bay leaf and with a slice of lemon between each
Sprinkle any remaining olive oil over the swordfish and shake leftover breadcrumb mixture on top.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with quartered lemon.