Agghiotta di Pesce Spada is a traditional fish recipe from Sicily. In the city of Messina, on the strait that separates the island from the rest of Italy, swordfish is always fresh and tradition wants this as the place where to have the best Agghiotta. The classic Swordfish Agghiotta includes swordfish, olives, capers, tomatoes, pine nuts and raisins. The Agghiotta recipe is also very good to prepare any other fresh fish fillets or steaks, like tuna and even cod.
The word Agghiotta derives from the Sicilian term “a’ ghiotta”, literally “the delicacy”.
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4):
- 2 pounds/1 kilogram of swordfish
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of capers in salt, rinsed and drained
- 2 ounces/60 grams of pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon of raisins
- 1 ½ tablespoons of pine nuts
- 1 cup of canned tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- salt and pepper
- Start placing the raisins in a small cup with some warm water and let them soak for about 30 minutes, until soft, then squeeze them and drain well.
- Rinse and drain the capers and set aside.
- Chop very finely the onion, celery and garlic.
- Dredge the fish in the flour.
- In a frying pan, fry the pieces of fish in the olive oil and get them nice and golden on each side.
- Remove the fish from the pan and let it rest on some paper towel to remove the excessive oil.
- Meanwhile, in the same pan, using the residual oil sauté all the chopped vegetables until the onion starts turning translucent.
- Add the capers, olives, raisins, pine nuts, tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let cook the ingredients for about 15 minutes over medium heat, so to obtain a nice sauce.
- Add about 1 cup of warm water to the pan, return the swordfish fillets in it, season them with a little more salt and pepper, then bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and let cook gently for a few more minutes, until the water is reduced and the sauce has a rather thick consistency.
- Serve immediately, topping each piece of swordfish with the Agghiotta sauce.
Wine Suggestions for Agghiotta: among the Italian wines I would choose Etna Bianco from Sicily or Vernaccia di San Gimignano or also a good Pinot Grigio.
Cinzia Aversa, 2013