In just a few month, I will be a broke student, so I have started to be a bit more thrifty when it comes to my food purchases. The other day, I went to the fishmonger looking for a firm, meaty fish that I could serve with a sauce I intended to make with some fennel and cherry tomatoes I had on hand. Swordfish seemed like the obvious choice, but when I saw mako, which the fishmonger's sign described as "similar to swordfish," for half the price, the budget-conscious half of my brain told me to give the shark a try. While I'm not completely sold on mako—the texture of the meat is not quite as firm as that of swordfish nor is it as flavorful—the bright tomato and fennel sauce more than made up for it and made me thankful that I still had a few extra dollars in my pocket.
Mako with Fennel and Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and diced
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed
- 2 6 oz. mako or swordfish fillets
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat.
- Add the onion, fennel, and fennel seeds to the saucepan and season with salt. Cook until the onion and fennel soften, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the vinegar into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Let the vinegar evaporate completely, about 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes to the saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes burst, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning and keep warm over low heat while you cook the fish.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until they are golden on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Put the skillet in the oven and cook until the fish is just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook the fish.
- Serve the fish immediately, topped with a generous amount of the fennel and tomato sauce.