This entree is dinner-party worthy. Ask your fishmonger for a center-cut chunk of skin-on swordfish (with no bloodline on it), about 5 inches long and 4 inches high -- akin to a small rib roast.
Creating pockets in the roast and stuffing them imparts flavor and moisture to each slice and makes a lovely presentation. You’ll need kitchen twine.
To guard against overcooking, use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the fish, which should be 125 degrees.
Serve with Brussels sprouts or asparagus, or perhaps parslied potatoes.
Make Ahead: The stuffing mixture can be made and refrigerated a day in advance. The roast can be prepped and refrigerated several hours before it is baked.
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons capers, drained
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
- 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
- One 2-pound, 4-ounce piece of skin-on swordfish, cut from one side of the center, with all traces of bloodline removed
Use a tablespoon of the oil to grease the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of the oil with the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the butter foams. Add the capers and cook for 1 minute, until they blister. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook for 15 seconds. Add the bread crumbs, paprika, the teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of pepper, the lemon juice and rosemary, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay a long piece of kitchen twine horizontally down the center of a cutting board. With its long side facing you, center the swordfish on top of the twine, skin side down. (This is so you can tie the roast together after you finish stuffing it.) Cut five equidistant slices into the swordfish, making sure to stop slicing a half-inch before you reach the skin (at the bottom). This will create flaps that enclose the stuffing, and a total of 6 slices. Season each slice lightly with salt and pepper.
Fill each opening with an equal amount of the stuffing, pressing it in gently. As stuffing falls onto the cutting board, press it back between the slices of the fish. Don’t worry if the roast looks a little messy. Tie the whole roast together with the twine to keep the end slices from collapsing as they cook. Transfer the tied roast to the baking dish, sprinkling any crumbs from the cutting board evenly over the roast.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour; an instant digital-read thermometer inserted into one of the center slices should register 125 degrees.
Discard the twine. Carve through to the bottom of the roast to separate the 6 slices. Serve each one with plenty of stuffing.
From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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