Nicastro, Calabria, 1980. ‘Eileen, don’t you just love this town?’ Caterina asks as we walk the Sunday afternoon passegiata ritual.
‘To tell you the truth, I feel very uncomfortable. Men are looking at us as if we are nude,’ I reply.
Nudging me affectionately in the side and tossing back her magnificent mane of jet-black hair, she laughs, ‘Quelli sono sguardi d’amore.’ (Those are the stares of love.) ‘Let’s go home. I want to make you a really special Calabrian dish this evening of swordfish, capers and oregano. It captures the magic of Calabria.’
– 150ml extra virgin olive oil
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– 6 x 150g swordfish steaks
– 500g buffalo mozzarella, cut into 6 slices
– 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
– 60g black olives
– 20g capers, soaked and patted dry to remove excess salt
– Bunch of fresh oregano or 2 tablespoons dried oregano
– Bunch of fresh basil
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 200℃.
2. Using an oven tray big enough to hold all the swordfish steaks, heat half of the oil in the tray over a low heat.
3. Sauté the garlic for about 1 minute, just until it’s fragrant but not browned.
4. Remove the dish from the heat.
5. Lay the fish on the bottom of the tray and layer each one with a slice of buffalo mozzarella, a couple of quartered cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and basil.
6. Finish with a generous dousing of the remaining extra virgin olive oil.
7. Place the tray in the hot oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until the mozzarella is nicely melted, the fish is cooked through and all of the ingredients have amalgamated.
8. Transfer the fish to a large serving platter, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
Here the table is the soul of the home – a place to come together, share food and thoughts, and spend valuable time with loved ones. Eileen’s recipes are designed to create conviviality and make every occasion a cause for celebration, whether you’re planning an annual holiday feast, a catch-up with friends or a special homecoming. Fill your home with the aroma of wonderful food, the sound of clinking glasses and happy chatter, while you create memories that you will treasure forever. To buy your copy visit www.gillmacmillanbooks.ie.