Weekly Swoon: A Fall-Ready recipe from Athena Calderone

It’s time to break out of your culinary comfort zone.

By: rē•spin
Weekly Swoon: A Fall-Ready recipe from Athena Calderone

It’s that transitional time of year again — the seasons begin to change, shifting gradually from one to the next. Slowly but surely, summer slips away and leads us delicately into autumn to watch the leaves change. This transition through the seasons allows us the opportunity to prepare for what’s ahead, plotting out the small changes we can make in our routines to help adjust to the new, yet familiar, annual quarter.

With fall just around the corner, it’s time to think about the recipes we’ll be cooking up at home, nourishing ourselves with meals and a moment of connection to those we share them with.

Athena Calderone is a multi-hyphenate in her own right as an interior designer, culinary storyteller, entertainment expert, author, and founder of the popular lifestyle blog, EyeSwoon. Through her work, which spans from entertaining and design to all things on the culinary spectrum, she’s known for her juxtaposed pairings that bring people together through beautiful food and thoughtful design.

Each week, we will be sharing our favorite recipes from Athena, with her permission, of course, to serve as guidance and inspiration as you prepare your meals. This week, we asked Athena to share a fall recipe with rē•spin from her 2017 James Beard award-winning book Cook Beautiful. The recipe hails from Sicily, an island near and dear to Athena and her family.

Swordfish with Raisins and Roasted Lemon-Olive Chutney

Olives, lemons, and raisins might sound like an odd combination, but it’s actually a classic Sicilian flavor profile. And really good things come from Sicily — like my mother-in-law! (Giovanna, this one’s for you.) The sweet raisins, salty olives, and sour charred lemons are particularly delicious spooned over swordfish, their lively flavors counterbalancing the hearty, buttery fish. All that’s missing? A little crunch, which comes from a sprinkling of Marcona almonds just before serving. 

Serves 4 

For the chutney: 

  • ⅓ cup (50 g) golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 2 lemons, cut into ¼-inch-thick 
  • (6-mm-thick) rounds, ends, and seeds discarded
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 
  • ½ cup (75 g) Castelvetrano olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

For the swordfish:

  • 2 (12-ounce/340-g) swordfish steaks, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling 
  • ¼ cup (35 g) salted Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley, for serving

Method of Preparation: 

Make the chutney:

  1. Preheat the oven to broil.
  2. Place the raisins in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar over medium heat until steaming.
  3. Pour the vinegar over the raisins and soak until they are plump, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Drain, discarding the vinegar.
  5. In a bowl, toss the lemon rounds with a drizzle of oil until evenly coated.
  6. Spread the lemons on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil on high until slightly charred for 7 to 8 minutes.
  7. Let them cool slightly, then chop the lemons into small pieces.
  8. Transfer them to a bowl and stir together with the oil, raisins, olives, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Season with freshly cracked pepper.

Make the swordfish:

  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the pan with oil and immediately add the fish to the skillet.
  4. Cook the fish until golden and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. 
  5. Just before serving, spoon the relish over the swordfish and scatter it with the almonds.
  6. Garnish with the parsley and offer extra relish on the side.

Swoon Tip:

Go for the gold! From the raisins to the lemons to the perfectly caramelized fish, this is a delightfully tawny plate of food. 

Provide a hint of contrast by reserving a few whole, perky sprigs of parsley to sprinkle over the finished dish. A parsley garnish doesn’t have to be cliché!

Photographer Credit: Johnny Miller

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