Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Are you excited? I bet you can’t wait to get into the kitchen and prepare that lovingly crafted three-course candlelit dinner of oysters, fillet steak and chocolate fondants for your other half, right?
As well as being a bit tired, this habitual promotion of the Valentine’s meal flagrantly ignores the fact that not all of us have someone in our life that we can feed fillet steak to (and I don’t just mean those of us who have vegetarian partners). What about those of us who are single?
You may want to stay in and ignore the whole Valentine’s palaver, I wouldn’t blame you. But for those of you who see a single Valentine’s Day as an excuse to treat yourself (and you should), here’s a bit of a special recipe. It uses swordfish, which admittedly isn’t an everyday ingredient: it’s not the cheapest fish, and you have to be careful about sourcing sustainable varieties. But most supermarkets stock it, and it has a texture and flavour unsurpassed by other fish: rich and meaty, it can stand up to a whole host of assertive ingredients. The Sicilians love it; I remember roaming the fish markets in Catania a few years ago and seeing huge swordfish, spiked heads still on, lying fiercely across gigantic fishmongers slabs. Romantic.
With that in mind, this is served with a very Sicilian sauce featuring classic ingredients like capers and olives, tangy and punchy and a perfect complement to the rich swordfish meat. As an accompaniment, a vibrant dish of crunchy kale with vinegar-soaked raisins, toasted pine nuts and caramelised fennel (all very Sicilian touches). It sounds like a lot going on, but there’s an amazing combination of sweet-sour-meaty flavours.
And, even better, the beauty of this recipe is that it’s very easy to multiply. So if you are lucky enough to have a Valentine in your life, why not skip the weird oysters and the fillet steak and rustle this up instead? It’s far more exciting on the eyes and the taste buds. If you don’t, make double and eat the rest for lunch the next day. This should keep everyone happy!
here's what you'll need...
For the swordfish:
- Olive oil, for cooking
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp sun dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp pitted black olives, finely chopped
- 1 tsp capers, finely chopped
- 100ml white wine
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- 1 large swordfish steak or two smaller steaks
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon salt, for seasoning the swordfish (optional)
- Torn fresh basil or oregano, to garnish
For the kale:
- 25g golden raisins
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 stems curly kale, leaves shredded
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- Half a small bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if possible)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts