Rolled Swordfish Spiedini  

Involtini di Pesce Spada – Spitini ri Pisci Spata 


The 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 leaves. 

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 in Palermo. 


                      Fresh Swordfish on Ice             


Serves 4 to 5 



·        2 ½  lb. swordfish, cut into 5 slices 

·        1 cup of olive oil  

·        1 medium size onion, finely diced  

·        2 cloves of garlic minced 

·        3 cups of breadcrumbs  

·        4 anchovy fillets, chopped. If salted wash salt out  

·        Juice of 2 lemon  

·        ½ tablespoons of sugar  

·        2 oz. pine nuts  

·        2 oz. chopped raisins, previously soaked in warm water   

·        Chopped parsley 

·        Salt and pepper  

·        ½ teaspoon of oregano   

·        Bay leaves  

·        1 large red onions quartered and peeled apart    

·        10 thin slices of lemon  

·        An oiled pan 12 inches X 9 inches 

·        Quartered lemons for garnish  



Slice of Swordfish


The Swordfish.
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 aside. 

The Stuffing
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 bowl. 

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 breadcrumbs. 


The Involtini 

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.  




The Baking 

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 rolled swordfish.
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.