8 ratings

Pancetta-Crusted Swordfish


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. 

Calories Per Serving


For the fennel, endive, and grapefruit salad

  • 1 bulb fennel, washed, tough fibrous outer layer removed, shaved into strips
  • 4 red endive, leaves separated
  • 1 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

  • 2 bulbs fennel, fronds removed
  • 2 Cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 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


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.