Pasta with swordfish, aubergine and mint is very distinctive in taste and quite fulfilling. The swordfish is a firm, succulent and meaty fish whose texture can be compared to that of tuna. Swordfish is a bill fish with a deep iron-grey skin, slim body and long ‘sword’ or bill as the upper jaw. Available as steaks both fresh and frozen, although fresh swordfish is usually better. Swordfish is most often filleted or boned into loins at point of landing; the loins are usually cut into steaks and sold with skin already off, as it needs to be removed prior to cooking. Best char-grilled, pan-fried or barbecued, swordfish stands up well to strong flavours including chilli, ginger, sesame, soy, nam pla and garlic. Although it is an oil-rich species of fish, it benefits from being marinated or brushed generously with oil prior to cooking as this helps prevent it from drying out during cooking.When making this dish you can use busiate (traditional pasta from Trapani area), but this sauce works well with any pasta you have.
500g busiate or any other pasta
100-120ml sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
1 onion, chopped
400 ml tomato passata
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
a bunch of mint, chopped
salt and freshly grounded pepper
Start by preparing the eggplant, slice it lengthways in about 1 cm thick slices. Sprinkle generously with salt and leave in the colander for about 30 minutes. This will drain the water and bitterness out of the aubergine.
When ready, wash the aubergine with cold water and dry them well. The best is to wrap a slice of aubergine in a towel and press it between the palm of your hands. Dice the aubergine and fry them in sunflower oil till golden brown. Using a slotted spoon remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. You may need to do this in two batches. Discard the oil, clean the pan, heat a little olive oil and and gently fry the onion for 5 – 7 minutes till it starts to soften.
Stir in the passata, eggplant. Season with salt and pepper, add a pinch of sugar and let is simmer for a few minutes. Boil the pasta in salted water according to instructions. Dice the swordfish in roughly ½ inch cubes.
In a separate pan, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic clove on low heat. When the garlic begins to brown (frying the garlic will infuse the oil), remove garlic clove from the pan and add the fish. Toss it around in a pan for about a minute then pour over the vinegar. Shake the pan to coat the fish, then add the tomato sauce. Combine well and let it simmer for a few minutes, check the seasoning the add the mint and pasta. Stir, to coat the pasta in the sauce and serve immediately.