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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Grilled Sicilian-style Swordfish & Saffron-Leek Risotto

Keeping it Mediterraneo with Italian dishes and Spanish wine.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Given that the Mediterranean offers unparalleled variety of culinary possibilities, today’s main dish is a delightfully flavorful, Sicilian-style fish.

(Photo: Samuel Ferrara)

Once again, I have discovered that in often times, less is indeed more, particularly when it comes to seafood. Let the ocean’s bounty speak for itself with just a few ingredients to harmoniously complement it.

Olive oil, lemon, sage and oregano are the simple yet key factors to make an amazingly fresh drizzle for a typical Sicilian dish...swordfish.

(Photo: Ignacio Brosa)

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Rich in culture and history, it has been an ancient and highly coveted land dating back to the colonization by Phoenicians and Greeks, dating back to 750 BC.

Traditional folklore says that Sicily is God’s Kitchen due to its notable and savory cuisine, which include fruits, vegetables, excellent olive oils and seafood.

Giving a classic Sicilian fish dish a modern spin, I am accompanying the swordfish with a saffron-leek risotto...true, the risotto maybe a Lombard region-based dish, but even saffron had to be brought through the Mediterranean from ancient Persia.

(Photo: Antonio Sessa)

The combination of extreme opposites of Italian regions make for a surprisingly unforgettable meal. Finally, topping it off with a Spanish Albariño, to beautifully balance the flavors of the food with the crisp acidity and aromatic nuances of this Iberian legendary white wine.

Let’s get cooking!


Grilled Sicilian-style Swordfish & Saffron-Leek Risotto

Wine pairing:

2019- Viera de Plata - Albariño

(Rias Baixas, D.O. - Spain)

Serves 2



  • 2 (1 lb each) 1/2 inch thick, swordfish steaks

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh finely chopped sage

  • 1/4 cup of extra Virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt

  • freshly cracked pepper (to taste)

  • some cooking oil to lightly grease grill


  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or stock

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup arborio rice

  • 1 tablespoon of saffron

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1/3 cup of fresh leeks, cut into thin disks

  • 1/4 cup of fresh leeks, cut into thin strips

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

  • 2 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper



  • Preheat the grill.

  • In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the salt until the salt dissolves. Stir in the oregano ame sage. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season generously with pepper.

  • Lightly grease grill grates with some cooking oil (canola works well)

  • Grill the swordfish steaks over high heat, turning once, until cooked through (approx 5 to 8 minutes each side).

  • Transfer the fish to a platter. Prick each fish steak in several places with a fork to allow the sauce to penetrate. Using a spoon, beat the sauce, then drizzle it over the fish.

Charred leek strips:

  • In a small bowl, add leek strips, a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

  • Drizzle olive oil, enough to coat the leeks.

  • While grilling the fish, char the leek strip on medium high heat for about 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks are seen. Turn leeks over and repeat. Once leeks are charred on both sides, remove from grill and transfer them to a small bowl where they will be used as a garnish/topping for the final dish.


  • In a large sauce pan, on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook garlic and leeks until soften. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, the saffron and stir.

  • Add rice and continue to cook on medium heat for a minute or two.

  • Add the white wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine.

  • Add the vegetable stock, 1/2 cup at a time (only adding after the previous addition has been absorbed by the rice). Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.

  • Stir in the cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Turn off the heat. Serve immediately.

*Note the stock amount suggested is an approximate measurement. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and find yourself without it, just add water.

Serve it up!

Both the fish and the risotto are meant to be served as soon as they are done. Therefore, timing is everything.

If necessary, make the risotto first and maintain it warm by keeping the pan‘s lid tightly closed.

So, let’s plate up by spooning a generous serving of risotto on top of a plate, slightly off-centered. Next, place swordfish streak on top of the risotto, slightly off so that the risotto can be seen. Finally, add a few strips of charred leeks on top of the risotto.

Mangia bene! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

Special thanks to my friends at VinAmericas for their wonderful contribution of this refreshingly vivid Albariño.

VINAMERICAS is a national fine wine import company headquartered in Miami with warehousing facilities in New Jersey, California, South Florida, and Europe (Spain).

Their ever-growing curated portfolio includes over 100 wines from 35 high-quality family wineries from Spain, France, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

2019- Viera de Plata - Albariño

(Rias Baixas, D.O. - Spain)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Grapes: 100% Albariño

Taste: The scallop's shell ("vieira" in Spanish) is much more than delicious seafood and the perfect pairing for this extraordinary white; it is the official symbol of Galicia, a unique region in northwestern Spain with gaelic roots and green fiord-like slopes that meet the Atlantic sea forming the renowned "Rias”.

Floral, tropical-fruit aromas suggest orange and mango. This is juicy and under control on the palate, with dry white-fruit and citrus flavors. On the finish, it shows ample freshness and length.

Food pairing: Pairs with shellfish, shrimp, grilled seafood and salads.

Distinction: Established in 1862 in Arbo (Pontevedra), As Laxas was a founding member of the Rias Baixas appellation after being purchased by Simón Ferro in 1975.

Today, under the leadership of Ferro’s 4 children the winery is equipped with the latest technology and owns 50 Has of vineyards dedicated to producing only the highest quality Albariños.

For more information on this wine and VinAmericas, visit:ño-r%C3%ADas-baixas


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo: Tamara Gura /Instagram: tami727)

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Flor Gomez
Flor Gomez
Apr 04, 2021

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