Swordfish or Monkfish with Sicilian Relish
4 fresh or frozen (thawed or still frozen) swordfish or monkfish fillets, about an inch thick, 6 ounces each
8 pitted Kalamata olives, cut into small pieces
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, diced up
1 teaspoon small capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon pine nuts, or 2 tablespoons roughly chopped Marcona almonds
1 to 2 tablespoons raisins or currants (depending on how sweet you like things)
1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, cut in half through the poles, then sliced thinly crosswise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a small nonstick skillet that also has a lid, toast the pine nuts over low heat until they start to brown. Shake the pan often and watch them carefully, or they’ll burn. Pour the nuts onto a small plate to cool. If the raisins are really dry, put them in a microwave-safe bowl with 3 tablespoons of water, and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until the water is hot. Let the raisins soak for about 10 minutes, then drain off the water and reserve it.
After the pine nuts are toasted, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet. Add the sliced onion with some salt and pepper. When everything sizzles, turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook the onion for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and stir everything up. Continue to cook until the onions are golden, then add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Spread the onion mixture on another plate to cool it slightly. If you’re going to use the toasted bread crumbs, heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet (don’t bother to clean it first), then add the Panko crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Heat and stir to toast the crumbs, and then set them aside in a small bowl.
Combine the olives, drained raisins, capers, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the cooled onion mixture, and the pine nuts or almonds in a small bowl. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, then taste to see if you need more vinegar, salt, or pepper, or a little of the raisin soaking liquid (which will be sweet). Spray a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish fillets with nonstick spray, then lay in the fillets. Sprinkle them with a little salt, then top them with the relish — be sure to cover as much of each fillet as you can. Cover the pan with foil and bake it for 20 minutes (for fresh or thawed fillets, 25 minutes for frozen fillets), then uncover the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. The fish should be nicely cooked through. Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes, then serve, topping each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the toasted bread crumbs if you’d like to use them.