Tuscan Swordfish with Capers, Tomatoes and Onions

February 18, 2015



Hi Friends! Happy Lent, Happy Whole30, Happy Wednesday, or whatever you may be celebrating today.

I know I meal planned on my last post that I would start eating Whole30 after my wine party, but I honestly got so excited about all the Whole30 foods that I just went ahead and started it today even if a few events will mean I am drinking wine this weekend (it will be 30 days by the end of Lent!). I can’t wait to try all the recipes I am discovering with you that are healthy and delicious.

This dish is hopefully something for everyone, since it can be made Whole30 friendly if you cook it with ghee (which sounds weird but is just clarified butter). We eat a lot more meatless meals during Lent too and I am always looking for great fish recipes because we tend to cook fish at home for our dates night.

I adore rustic food, and this Tuscan dish is just that. Hearty, chunky, easy and full of flavor. It is healthy comfort food that still sticks to your ribs. The briney capers, tomatoes, and onions are the perfect base for the tangy swordfish.


I learned this butter basting technique from Rick Moonen’d cookbook, Fish. He was a Top Chef Master and owner of seafood restaurants in Vegas. I also just reviewed the cookbook Extra Virgin (by Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos who grew up in Tuscany) for Coastal Home magazine, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the origins of Tuscan food.

The simple Tuscan flavors of tomato, capers, wine and lemon reflect a clean style of cooking that I love. Tuscan cooking leans more heavily on olive oil then butter, but the end result of butter basting fish is so flavorful I think they would make an exception. You can substitute any white fish for the swordfish and cook it the same way, adjusting the time for thickness of the filet.

Even though it looks like a lot of butter you are really just basting it, or poaching it almost in the butter – most of it stays in the pan.



The result, as you can imagine, is such a tender, butter piece of fish. You can’t believe it is as soft and flavorful as it is, even though it is deliciously browned.

I hope you like this as much as we did. I am dreaming about making this soon with Whole30 compliant ingredients. Lent is supposed to be hard, and it will be! But with food that is so delicious, this is the type of eating I know we’ll keep doing long after it is over.



Cheers friends – Happy cooking! xoxo Katie


Tuscan Butter Basted Swordfish with Onions, Tomatoes and Capers (printer version here):


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

Salt & pepper

½ cup white wine

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons of capers

2 swordfish steaks

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (this is for the butter basting; don’t worry, you leave most of it in pan)


To make the Onion, Tomato & Caper Sauce: Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add sliced onions and a small pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and another 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then add wine and lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes, then add capers and stir.  Keep warm in pan to until ready to serve under fish.

To make Butter Basted Swordfish: Have a large spoon, spatula, and paper towels next to pan. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a pan on medium-high heat (watch closely so butter doesn’t burn, but you are looking for a nutty browned butter flavor so browning is good).  Pat dry swordfish and season with salt and pepper. When the butter has melted, place in the far side of the pan and, using a spatula, press down on fish for the first 30 seconds, which helps the fish start to brown. Cut the other 4 tablespoons of butter into pieces and add to the pan. Tip pan toward you and using large spoon, continuously spoon butter on top of fish. Continuously tip, baste and set down pan again over heat, so that butter becomes nutty brown and top of fish is cooked, for 6 minutes. Then turn fish over, turn off heat, and let it sit in butter for 1 minute. Set on paper towels and use another to blot the top. Serve on a bed of the onion-tomato sauce, and sprinkle lemon and salt, if desired, on top of fish.

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