Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pasta with swordfish & toasted pistachio and breadcrumbs

I consider myself a positive and pretty optimistic person. My glass is mostly half full, not half empty. I usually wake up with a smile and like to look at what is good in my life rather than what isn't.

Today, however is an especially good day. A celebration of coming home.

This morning I got a phone call from my close friend Y. Some of you may remember my post mentioning her husband was being readmitted to the hospital to fight his ongoing battle against leukemia last month. She called to tell me that after a cycle of chemio and more, he is on his way home right now as I write. This guy is going back home to his wife, his two little children and all that is familiar to him. No more IVs, no more sterile room, just rooms full of toys, the everyday disorder of a house full of kids, laughter and love. Nothing sterile there.

There is no feeling in the world like coming home. I am sure he would agree if you asked him that. The feeling of being somewhere where everything is familiar, from the books to the photographs to the smell. Have you ever noticed how all homes have a unique smell? Home is where you can walk around in the dark and not bump into any furniture (unless you are pregnant). Home is the place where you know where each and every crack and worn spot is, those tiny imperfections that your guests may not notice but that scream out to you every time you walk into a room.

But coming home is also in the embrace of the person you love after a bad day in the office or an argument you had the day before (wait, didn't we all swear we would never go to bed angry at each other?).

Coming home is the feeling of familiarity you have walking through streets where you recognize faces, stores and sounds even if you have been away for a long time.

Home is watching your red-cheeked, open-mouthed children sleeping in their beds, on an airplane, in a car or anywhere, as long as you are there together.

Home is unexpectedly tasting something you haven't had since your grandmother made it for you when you were a child and that you have never been able to recreate in your own kitchen.

Coming home is wonderful, it is the feeling of being safe and loved like nowhere else, and we must never take it for granted, even when we are itching to go.

What is home for you?

This dish may have tasted a little like home to F, with its flavors so reminiscent of the Mediterranean. It is full of the sun, the sea and the colors of the islands.

I was inspired by a tray of swordfish in pieces at the market. I usually do not buy things that are prepared in advanced or pre-cut, say pre-filleted chicken breast or pork loin, because they are much more expensive and often not  as appealing. However the idea of cooking with what were probably the trimmings from perfectly cut fish filets and the less noble parts did appeale to me. First of all, with wild fresh fish costing as much as it does, you don't just go out and buy four huge swordfish or tuna stakes for a simple week night dinner with the kids, if you know what I mean. Plus, I felt it was an environmentally friendly choice to use up all parts of the animal, those parts that are discarded just because they aren't the right width or shape. When you are making a pasta sauce, you want the tastier, fattier part of the fish and you will be needing smaller pieces anyway. I will keep my eyes open for these cuts from now on.

Ingredients (for 4 as a main dish)
swordfish in pieces (about 250gr)
1/2 cup pistachios, peeled, ground and toasted
1/3 cup bread crumbs, toasted
approx. 6 chopped vine tomatoes
a handful of chopped parsely
garlic (as much as you like)
a handful of chopped mint
white wine
extra virgin olive oil
pasta (500gr)

First of all, this is a dish you can make with all sorts of fish or seafood.  Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, chop up the tomatoes, some parsley, garlic and mint, keeping the mint separate. Pour a good amount of extra virgin olive oil into a pan and when it has heated up add in the minced garlic and parsley. When the garlic turns golden add the swordfish and then a splash of white wine after a minute or so. Then add  the chopped tomato. When the the sauce is almost ready, add in the mint.  Taste for salt and pepper. When you drain the pasta make sure you don't do so excessively and set aside a little of its cooking water, so you can add it if the pasta seems a little dry. Serve the pasta on  plates and sprinkle with the toasted pistachio and breadcrumb mixture and a drizzle of olive oil.


  1. A great tribute to your friend's homecoming, plus I love swordfish :)

  2. What a beautiful combination- I think I'd love the surprise of mint in there. For me home is a cup of Earl Grey Tea- even more so if it's brought to me in bed by The Hungry One. Anywhere in the world, as long as I've got a cup of tea- and him, I'm pretty much set.

  3. What a lovely way to welcome him home! :D Everyone must be so relieved to have him back at home where he can recuperate properly with TLC :)

  4. Good for him, this is an important homecoming for him I'm sure. You've hit the nail on the peg- and it made me homesick :) but I'll be spending a month in the house I grew up in soon, and I just can't wait....

  5. Nuts about foodMay 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Lindy - then you must try this, it was really delicious.
    Tori - aaaaw, that is so sweet.
    Lorraine - I am sure he is already basking in his family's love TLC
    Nicole - that is wonderful. You must be so happy to bring Roman back home to your family too...

  6. I agree with you 100%; nothing feels better than coming home, in any circumstance! Love that pasta too. Very homey~

  7. I am so happy for your friends family! That is wonderful news he'll be home with his wife and children.

    Yes, to me home in its simplest form is anywhere my husband and children are... I LOVE the dish you made here too...perfect, perfect food! XO

  8. So happy to hear your friend's husband is back home! It's always great to hear good news like that =)

    This pasta sounds amazing - I've never used swordfish this way! You must be on to something =)

  9. Questo primo è da provare, ottimo mix di conistenze e sapori... complimenti!


Leave a suggestion, opinion or your own experience. I love hearing from you.