Culture: Pan-Fried Swordfish Involtini | Wine Enthusiast
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Pan-Fried Swordfish Involtini

Courtesy Angelo Cuppone, chef, Roma, Houston

Surrounded by the Mediterranean, Calabria has a strong relationship with the sea. The cuisine along the 500 miles of turquoise coastline is based heavily on seafood, with the area surrounding the city of Reggio Calabria known particularly for swordfish.

Angelo Cuppone, chef at Houston’s Roma, created this recipe as an ode to his mother. Cuppone says that she often made dishes that were “simple, with pure flavors inspired by the ingredients that were available to her in her native Calabria.”


2½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup black Cerignola olives, pitted and chopped
Salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1 pound swordfish, sliced into ¼-inch-thick filets (10–12 filets)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ small onion, fine chopped
1 large tomato, peeled and seeded
Parsley, fine chopped, for garnish
Lemon, thin sliced, for garnish


In mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, capers and olives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well, and let sit until breadcrumbs soften. Spread thin layer of breadcrumb mixture on each filet. Rolland secure with toothpick. Set aside.

In large frying pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until translucent. Add tomato, and cook until liquid has evaporated. Add swordfish rolls to pan. Cook until golden brown, turning rolls gently to cook on all sides. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Pair It

There’s a particular heft to swordfish that could overpower some white wines, while it can also be completely overshadowed by a red. The strawberry-hued rosatos of Calabria offer a fine middle ground. Options like Librandi’s Ciró Rosato carry bold red-berry and herb flavors bolstered by a grip of tannins, which makes it perfect alongside seafood.

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