Catania’s fish market is an incredible place, just around the corner from the city's cathedral. The stalls are scattered over an impressive area, under the Carlo V walled tunnel, the open Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto, stretching as far as Piazza Pardo. And although it's called a fish market, "La Pescheria" sells everything.
Image © Dario Baratta
From 5 a.m. to about noon, the market is always crowded and busy. The overlapping voices of the vendors yelling at each ear–pushing their merchandise in front of your eyes baiting you to buy more, and clients bargaining prices, make you feel like you’ve been sucked into an Arabian souk.
During my sojurn in Catania, what I would go to the Pescheria looking for was, say, a ball of butcher’s twine; and I’d regularly leave with an abundance of fresh produce, herbs, dried fruits, amazing oranges, almonds, and huge swordfish steaks. So flabbergasted by the whole whirlwind of confusion, the assault on the senses with cacophony of sounds, rainbow of colors and assortment of smells, I hardly remember how that would happen.
Image © Toni Rubio Fiego
Swordfish steaks must be eaten super fresh, grilled and cut about 1-inch thick. The slices need to be cooked with the skin intact, as this keeps the scaly flesh well compact. If you don’t want to barbecue, grill the steaks on a hot griddle or in a non-stick oven pan over the hot stove. Heat is key, but no oven please.
Ingredients for 4 guests:
4 swordfish steaks, 1-inch (2 cm) thick
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, torn
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Baste the tuna with the mint leaves and garlic in olive oil and white wine vinegar, marinading them briefly before cooking.
Heat the cooking vessel over fierce heat (in this case induction stoves may be too mild) and cook the steaks either on a hot griddle or over the coals, turning them to brown on both sides. Occasionally baste with the marinade.
Cook the swordfish steaks until well seared on the outside, and still tender but not rare on the inside. Slit a small gash in the flesh to check for doneness.
Lightly salt, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve at once. Oh, and pass the peppermill, please.
Image © Francesco Tramontano
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people.
~ Orson Welles
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