Pancetta-Crusted Swordfish

Charlie Palmer


For the fennel, endive, and grapefruit salad

  • bulb fennel, washed, tough fibrous outer layer removed, shaved into strips
  • red endive, leaves separated
  • grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 1/4 Cup  Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 Cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon  minced shallot
  • 1 Teaspoon  fresh oregano leaves
  •   Salt and pepper, to taste

For the fennel purée

  • bulbs fennel, fronds removed
  • 2 Cups  chicken stock, hot
  • cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons  butter
  • sprigs thyme
  •   Extra-virgin olive oil

For the swordfish

  • Four  7-ounce swordfish fillets
  • 16  slices pancetta, sliced thin and unrolled so that you have a long strip
  •  Dash of  olive oil

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by Charlie Palmer

Often paired with relishes like ones made with olives or capers, it’s obvious that swordfish goes perfectly with salt, and Palmer is not shy about this. For his holiday swordfish, he sautés pancetta-wrapped swordfish and pairs it with fennel purée and a fennel, endive, and grapefruit salad for a salty-sweet flavor combination. 


For the fennel, endive, and grapefruit salad

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl to blend. If necessary, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the shaved fennel, endive leaves, grapefruit segments, and parsley leaves in a bowl.  Add the lemon vinaigrette and toss to combine.

For the fennel purée

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Cut the fronds and fibrous stalks from the fennel bulb (discard or save for another use). Cut the bulbs in 1/2, lengthwise and remove the tough center root section.

Place the fennel, garlic, butter, and thyme in roasting pan and cover with hot chicken stock. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the oven until soft. Remove from the oven and transfer the fennel mixture to a blender, discarding the thyme. Process the braised fennel to a smooth purée. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to emulsify.

For the swordfish

Lay 4 thin slices of pancetta on a cutting board, overlapping to extend the length of the swordfish fillet. Wrap the fillet with the pancetta and press firmly.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick or stainless steel pan until hot. Cook swordfish on both sides for 3 minutes, or until cooked to medium temperature. 

Re-heat the fennel purée in a saucepot until hot. Spoon a generous portion of the purée on individual serving plates and spread purée across plate with the black of spoon. Place pan seared pancetta crusted swordfish on top of fennel purée. Garnish the swordfish with the salad and a drizzle of the extra lemon vinaigrette. 


Calories per serving:

1,288 calories

Dietary restrictions:

High Fiber, Low Carb Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 415g 639%
  • Carbs 114g 38%
  • Saturated 114g 570%
  • Fiber 34g 136%
  • Trans 2g
  • Sugars 59g
  • Monounsaturated 218g
  • Polyunsaturated 59g
  • Protein 245g 490%
  • Cholesterol 925mg 308%
  • Sodium 4,981mg 208%
  • Calcium 591mg 59%
  • Magnesium 502mg 125%
  • Potassium 8,782mg 251%
  • Iron 15mg 86%
  • Zinc 14mg 94%
  • Phosphorus 3,335mg 476%
  • Vitamin A 962µg 107%
  • Vitamin C 218mg 364%
  • Thiamin (B1) 2mg 164%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 2mg 96%
  • Niacin (B3) 95mg 475%
  • Vitamin B6 7mg 331%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 373µg 93%
  • Vitamin B12 16µg 267%
  • Vitamin D 113µg 28%
  • Vitamin E 43mg 216%
  • Vitamin K 783µg 979%
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