Grilled Swordfish with Orange Fennel Bucatini

favorites swordfish fennel orange bucatini

This is a simple dish prepared with complex flavors.  Bucatini is coated with a zesty citrus sauce that features caramelized fennel, garlic, and anchovies and is paired with seared savory Swordfish flavored with orange, garlic, and chili peppers.

Recipe by Chef Emily Ellyn, more at

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  35 minutes
Serves:   2 - 4



2 (8oz) Swordfish
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
1 large orange, zested and juiced, divided


½ lb bucatini
1 large fennel bulb
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
4 oz kumquats, seeded and halved, or substitute 1 orange, seeded and chopped fine
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 (5 oz) wedge aged Parmesan, grated


Pat Swordfish dry and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Prepare the grill (medium-high heat). Whisk the mayonnaise, red pepper flakes, garlic, and half of the orange zest in a small bowl.  Brush the Swordfish steaks with this mixture and reserve to side.

Remove tough outer layers and fronds from fennel bulbs and discard. Working one at a time, cut bulbs lengthwise (through root ends) into quarters, remove cores, and slice lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices.

Heat oil over high heat in a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven until shimmering. Add fennel to pan in as even a layer as possible and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath and starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn fennel over and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes.

Stir anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, pine nuts, capers, and kumquats into the fennel. Cook, stirring often, until anchovies are disintegrated, the pine nuts become golden brown, and the capers begin to burst open, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat, add the orange juice and zest as well as the other half of orange juice from the Swordfish ingredients. Cover pot to keep sauce warm until pasta is done.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Grill the Swordfish until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the Swordfish steaks. Transfer to a plate.

Uncover sauce, add pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid. Set over medium-low heat. Add 1½ cups aged parmesan and cook, tossing vigorously and adding more pasta water if needed, until sauce is emulsified and pasta is coated, about 2 minutes.  Divide pasta into large shallow bowls, top with grilled Swordfish, and garnish with remaining Parmesan.

Dig in and enjoy!