Pesce spada alla ghiotta – swordfish with tomatoes, olives and capers


This simple Italian swordfish recipe is popular in both Calabria and Sicily, and sees thick meaty steaks of the fish served on a bed of tomatoes, olives, capers, pine nuts, raisins and anchovies. A stunning example of southern Italian coastal cookery.

First published in 2019

Popular in both Calabria and Sicily, this striking yet simple dish is packed with all of the classical flavours of southern Italy; salty olives and anchovies, sharp capers, sweet raisins and earthy pine nuts. Lightly heated with collapsing cherry tomatoes, the sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the meaty yet delicate flavour of the swordfish. If you can't find Tropea onions (one of Calabria's most famous vegetables), substitute with a regular onion.




  • 400g of swordfish, cut into 200g steaks
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 Tropea onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 20g of pine nuts
  • 30g of capers
  • 80g of green olives, pitted
  • 500g of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 30g of raisins
  • 1 handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper


Place a large frying pan big enough to fit both swordfish steaks comfortably over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, then the Tropea onion, garlic and anchovies. Gently sauté until they are soft and the anchovies have dissolved into the oil
Add the pine nuts and capers and fry for a minute to lightly toast the nuts

Add the olives, cherry tomatoes and raisins, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. After this time, the tomatoes will be starting to collapse but should still hold their shape slightly. Turn the heat down to low and leave to gently simmer


Season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper and place a separate large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Once smoking, add a splash of oil to the pan and add the swordfish steaks. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until you have a nice golden colour on the underside

Using a fish slice, carefully flip the steaks over into the pan with the tomato sauce, so that the seared side is facing upwards
Cover the pan with a lid or kitchen foil and leave the fish to gently finish steaming in the sauce for 5 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley

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