Chefs' Recipes

Swordfish con sarde by Alberto's Lounge

An extra-fishy version of Sicily's pasta con sarde, with a sardine and anchovy salsa spooned atop the swordfish.

By Daniel Pepperell
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
"The bottom and top of the food chain combined," says chef Daniel Pepperell of Alberto's Lounge. "In Sicily, a sardine and anchovy salsa is paired with pasta for the famous pasta con sarde. Here it also complements the mighty and meaty grilled swordfish."


  • 50 gm fine salt
  • 4 skinless swordfish steaks (200gm each and 2cm-2.5cm thick)
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb finely diced, fronds coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100 gm fresh sardine fillets, cut into 1cm dice
  • 50 gm anchovy fillets
  • 100 gm lightly roasted pine nuts
  • 50 gm currants, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 100 ml chardonnay or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (see note)


  • 1
    Combine salt and 1 litre water in a large container and stir to dissolve. Submerge swordfish in brine for 10 minutes. Rinse, then pat dry with paper towels.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, add oil, onion, fennel bulb and garlic to a small saucepan over low-medium heat and stir until soft and translucent (6-8 minutes). Add sardines and anchovies, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies have dissolved (8-10 minutes). Add pine nuts and currants and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavours have combined (5 minutes). Stir in vinegar and fennel fronds and season to taste.
  • 3
    Preheat a barbecue or a char-grill pan to high. Season swordfish with salt to taste and grill, turning once, until medium (2 minutes each side). Serve covered with the sauce and scattered with nutritional yeast.


Nutritional yeast, also known as savoury yeast, is an inactive form of yeast; it's available from select health-food shops.
Wine suggestion 2013 Bonaccorsi Rossorelativo Nerello Mascalese. A dark and earthy rosé, somewhere between a rosé and a light
red. This would be considered a classic match in Sicily. Wine suggestion by Andy Tyson.