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.
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.
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.
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.