Wednesday, April 9, 2008

swordfish with braised endive

Swordfish with Braised Endive (large)

I have apparently reached another milestone in life where something I once found mundane now holds a great deal of interest for me. Yes, once upon a time, things like bed linens, kitchen equipment, and -- gasp! -- antiques bored me to tears. Now, however, I take delight in coordinating my sheets with my duvet cover, in the usefulness of my kitchenware, and in discovering a well-preserved Shiny Brite ornament in an out-of-the-way antique store. Signs of adulthood? Yes, probably. And now I can add one more thing to that list: vehicle maintenance, or, more specifically, vehicle beautification. On Saturday I had my car detailed from top to bottom. I tend to be a bit of a penny-pincher when it comes to things like this, but much to my surprise, I found myself looking forward to the appointment with a great deal of anticipation. And I would be lying if I said I was anything but gleeful when DANA ND2* was returned to me on Saturday afternoon, all shiny and clean and just for me! I can even pretend that the whole package was free...until I get next month's credit card bill, of course.

(*Those of you in the Pacific Northwest with stalker-like tendencies will be disappointed to learn that this is the name of my car, but not my license plate number.)

This recipe sounds fancy, but it is unbelievably simple. I had two swordfish steaks in the freezer that I bought for a song at Trader Joe's and thought this would be a great way to use them up. Even if you don't go for the swordfish (which is rather high in mercury), the endive alone is worth a try. Normally quite bitter, the sugar and braising make it tender and ever so slightly sweet. This was an easy meal to put together, but I will note that it took me longer to braise my endive than the recipe suggests. It only finally began to caramelize when I got impatient and turned the heat up to high. Also, I found it practically impossible to keep the endive in wedge form while braising, but the loose leaves certainly didn't take away from the tasty results. This was a springy, light meal -- one that I would definitely make again.

Swordfish with Braised Endive
Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet - October 2003
Serves 2

1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3 medium Belgian endives (1 lb total), each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
2 (3/4-inch-thick) swordfish steaks (6 to 8 oz each)
Salt and black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Bring water, butter, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper to a simmer in a 10-inch heavy skillet. Add endive in 1 layer, then braise, covered, turning wedges over once, 10 minutes.

Remove lid and increase heat to moderately high, then cook, turning over occasionally, until all of liquid is evaporated and endive is very tender and well caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes.

While endive is braising, pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté fish, uncovered, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 7 minutes total. Serve fish topped with endive.

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