10 October 2011

Sword Fish & Vegetable Skewers



How many times did I write that to have vibrant natural colors in my food matters a lot?   As I was preparing these skewers, I felt like summer was still here to stay.  It was a desperate attempt to keep it a while longer, even if I can feel that the temperature has already dropped.  The weather had been so erratic.  The morning had opened up with a promise of a beautiful day but then it became windy, cold, dreary, gray and just plain ugly.   We were cooped indoors.  


As soon as I watched Monica Bianchessi cooking her spiedini di sogliola (sole fish skewers) a few days ago, I knew I would be doing it too.  And this is the day.  I was aware that I was actually a season late, being a perfect summer plate.  But then she featured it as a dish for kids, cooked on a saucepan.  I added the capsicum & grape tomatoes from her original recipe to add more colors.  They are also excellent when grilled.   Her fish rolls are stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsley & capers.  I couldn't follow the original recipe of the fish rolls because I didn't have all the ingredients.  Sole was replaced by sword fish, parsley was supplanted by basil and I also added some sundried tomatoes to make them full-flavoured. 


The truth is, my parsley plants never recuperated from too much snipping the past months.  It's a perrenial so they should still spew out some leaves later on.  I'm crossing my fingers that they survive the cold season.  The basil, however is an annual, so my plants are taking out the last leaves before they die down.   That herb epitomizes summer.  The scent & taste exudes sunshine and freshness.   They are slowly pulling back along with the season they came with.   Which reminds me.  I should start freezing them!  They are so scarce in winter.

Summer fruit slices and a sauce of extra virgin olive oil, lemon, salt & herbs for grilled food that I recently learned in Sicily.  




















According to Monica, you don't cook the vegetables too long, cooking them at same time as you cook the fish, leaving them crunchy and I think I prefer them that way.   Since she didn't put capsicum in her skewers, she didn't have the same problem I did.  Figures, she's a chef, I am not.  I left the yellow peppers slightly cooked, with the crunch as you chew them.   I loved the rest of the ingredients however, especially the zucchini, cooked and raw.  And leaving the fish for last, they were divine.  Absolutely.  Really.  My husband graded it dieci e lode (top marks).  


A few days ago, we decided to have our last outdoor summer barbecue.  We were able to time it perfectly right before the temperature started dropping.   Grilled meat & vegetables, bruschette, fresh fruit, cold drinks..... all eaten under the olive trees.  We will have to wait for a few months until we set the table in that spot again.

We are packing up.  Party time is over.  I am plodding through a gruelling work of season-changing in the closets this week.  Our chilled bodies are calling out for longer & thicker clothes.   The shorts, sandals & tank tops are going, to be replaced by sweaters & pants.  Beiges & whites will be tucked away while the blacks & grays come out again. 


And I will leave you this post as a last salute to summer.  After we have imbibed the beauty and warmth of this season, let's move on to the next step.  I'm ready for autumn.

What is grilling without some tomato bruschette & corn?


Fish & Vegetable Skewers

Ingredients:
Serves 4 (Yields 8 big skewers)

  • 250 g. sword fish fillet (or any other white fish)
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 - 4 medium zucchini
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, diced
  • a big handful of basil
  • 16 grape tomatoes
  • about 1 cup breadcrumbs  



  1. Cut off both ends of zucchini.  Discard.  Slice thinly with a vegetable slicer.  Put them in a bowl.  Mix with salt, thyme & extra virgin olive oil.  Mix gently with your hands until all the slices are completely covered with the condiments.  Prepare about 16 rolls.  Get 2 thin slices of zucchini.  Roll together.  Set aside.
  2. Rinse capers under the tap.  Squeeze lightly while doing this.  Take away excess water with a kitchen paper towel.  Chop sundried tomatoes & capers together.  Set aside.
  3. Make sure your fish fillet are sliced thinly & about 8 cm. (3 in.) wide. The length should just be enough to close the roll, about 12 cm. (5 in.).  
  4. Lay the fish flat on a plate.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt & pepper.  Sprinkle a generous amount of breadcrumbs.  Distribute the chopped capers & sundried tomatoes.  Put one basil leaf.  Roll.  Repeat until you finish all the fish.  Allot 3 rolls per skewer.  
  5. Prepare the skewers.   Put the vegetables & fish in any order. 
  6. Warm up a stove-top griddle or thick bottomed non-stick pan.  Drizzle some oil and wipe off excess with a kitchen paper towel.  Sprinkle salt on the griddle.  When it's warm, put the skewers.  Cook both sides.   Fish should get a beautiful golden color while the vegetables can retain a slightly crunchy consistency. 
  7. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.  Serve warm with the fresh zucchini salad that remained. 




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