Swordfish in Creamy Tomato Sauce


Any thick, beefy fish will work with this dish, such as sea bass, bluefish, or tuna; I make it here with swordfish.

Swordfish in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Photo: © Kana Okada
Active Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
3 hrs 8 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 30 mins

The fish is cooked at low temperature in an aromatic broth spiked with tomato, garlic, and oregano, allowing it to absorb the rich flavors while still remaining moist and succulent.

The bread's long rise creates an assertive, yeasty flavor. The crisp, chewy texture is a satisfying complement to meaty fish.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 poblano or Anaheim pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks, about 1-inch thick

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • Pinch of dried oregano

Turkish Ridged Flatbread

  • 1 3/4 cup warm water, divided

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, divided

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 cups bread flour

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt

  • Cornmeal, for dusting

  • Nigella or sesame seeds, for sprinkling


Make the flatbread

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup water with 1/4 teaspoon yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cover loosely and let stand overnight.

  2. In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the water with remaining 1 teaspoon yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy. Add the yeast mixture, the remaining 1 cup of water and the olive oil. Stir in the flours and salt until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in bulk, about 3 hours.

  3. Place a baking stone on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Punch down the dough and divide it into four pieces. Flatten each piece into a round. Cover them with plastic and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal. On a floured work surface, with wet hands, flatten each round into an 8- by 10-inch oval. Make six or seven deep grooves with your fingertips down the length of each oval. Sprinkle the ovals with the nigella seeds. Slide the ovals onto the peel, then onto the hot stone in the oven. Bake until crisp on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Make the swordfish

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, ovenproof skillet, flameproof clay pot or enameled cast-iron baking dish, melt the butter. Add the garlic and poblano, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until the poblano starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, water and cream and bring to a simmer.

  2. Season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper and nestle them in the tomato mixture. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning the steaks once, until just cooked through.

  3. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the swordfish to plates. Stir the vinegar and oregano into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with Turkish ridged flatbread.

Suggested pairing

This lightly creamy, tomato-rich stew would pair well with many Turkish wines, but they're difficult to find in the United States. Instead, look to another Mediterranean wine region, Sardinia, for a light, fresh-tasting rosé.

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