When we received some fresh, colorful peppers from our CSA last week, I knew how I wanted to use them. They were mostly sweet peppers in red, orange, and pale yellow or almost white, and there were some jalapenos too. My plan was to cook them slowly with onion and tomato to make a peperonata to serve on swordfish like I saw in Eating Local. I warned you I’d be using this book a lot. Now, about that swordfish. I admit I’m a worrier when it comes to buying fish. I always check in with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list before making a purchase. The news changes from time to time, and I like to find out specifically which fish from which sources are the best options. As it happened, on the day I was planning to shop for swordfish, I learned about the Whole Foods MSC-Certified harpoon-caught swordfish program, and you can read about it here and here. There’s a short season for this type of sustainably caught swordfish, and I heard about it just in time. Also, on the topic of choosing fish responsibly, Chef Rick Moonen recently offered a list of five fish that deserve a break in the 5@5 post on Eatocracy. One of his recommendations was wild-caught swordfish.
In Eating Local, the swordfish is grilled, but I was too lazy to cook outside in the heat and just seared ours on the stove. The peperonata was started by sauteing onion and garlic in a large skillet over low heat. Grated tomato was added and allowed to cook for five minutes. Then, sliced bell peppers, and in my case sliced jalapenos as well, were added with some red pepper flakes. The skillet was covered, and everything simmered gently for about 25 minutes. Capers and spoonful of white wine vinegar were added, and it was seasoned with salt and pepper. Some peperonata was scooped onto each piece of swordfish and topped with basil.
A nice mix of cooked peppers is a happy sight for me, but this assemblage of colors and flavors worked especially well. There was layered flavor with some sweetness, some spice, and then the acidity of the vinegar and capers plus the added heat from the pepper flakes. Swordfish is a sturdy, mild fish that carries other robust flavors well, and the peperonata worked perfectly with it.