Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Swordfish with Creamy Basil and Shrimp Tomato Sauce

I’m still not overly confident when it comes to cooking without a recipe, so I was especially proud of this dish. I asked the Significant Eater what she would like for dinner and she described to me a dish she had eaten on a night out with her girlfriends at Extra Virgin, a quaint Mediterranean restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village. “Monkfish, in a buttery pink tomato sauce, with rock shrimp,” she stated, paraphrasing the surely hunkish waiter who had made the dish so memorable. It sounded easy enough to me, so I went to work. My fishmonger had sold out of monkfish for the day, so I chose the more sustainable swordfish, which I felt would be meaty enough to hold up to the tomato sauce. Similarly, I replaced the rock shrimp with bite-size pieces of larger shrimp. I had a lot of fun simply cooking by taste, sight, and feel: a splash of wine here, a handful of basil there. As the cooking came to a close, I asked the Significant Eater how it looked in comparison to the dish from Extra Virgin. She raised a spoonful of sauce to her lips and exclaimed, “You nailed it!”
Swordfish with Creamy Basil and Shrimp Tomato Sauce
Serves 2, with plenty of extra sauce for pasta the following day

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes with their juice, crushed by hand
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ bound medium-size shrimp, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonaded (leaves rolled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 6-oz. swordfish steaks
  1. Heat the butter and 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once the butter has melted, stir in the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and allow the tomatoes to simmer until the sauce is no longer watery, about 30 minutes.
  4. Pour in the wine and return the sauce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream, shrimp, and basil and simmer the sauce until it is thick and the shrimp have cooked through, about 5 minutes. While the sauce simmers, prepare the swordfish.
  6. Season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper.
  7. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the swordfish to the pan and cook undisturbed until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip each steak and cook until the other side has browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Set each swordfish steak on a serving plate.
  9. Taste the sauce for salt and pepper.
  10. Spoon the sauce over each swordfish steak and serve immediately.


  1. cooking by instinct and intuition is infinitely more fun then following recipes..bravo.



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