Pesce Spada con Pomodoro

Swordfish in a fresh tomato sauce is a great dish when you can find extremely fresh, high quality swordfish.  The bright acidity of the tomato highlights the rich flavors of the swordfish.  This is a dish that surprises many people as you do not generally think of fish cooked with a “red” sauce.  However the combination is fantastic.

Start by selecting a great piece of swordfish.   The flesh should be firm and the steak should smell like sea water.  I like to get a steak that  is at least 1 inch thick.  Cut the skin away from the flesh and dice the fish into 3/4inch cubes.  Toss the cubes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Saute over medium high heat in a non stick skillet until just barely cooked through.  Remove the fish from the pan and place on a plate to rest.

Add you pasta (use what ever shape of pasta you like) to a large pot of salted water that is boiling and give it a stir.  While your pasta is cooking you can easily prepare the Pomodoro sauce.  In a non-reactive saute pan, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and add finely diced onion.  Saute the onion over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes.  Once the onion is soft, add fresh chopped garlic, salt pepper and a littler crushed red pepper flakes.  At this point I like to add a ladle full of the starchy pasta water.  Once that reduces, add crushed fresh plum tomatoes (I peel the tomatoes prior to use and crush them by hand.  You can peel the tomatoes by scoring the top and dropping them into boiling water for a few seconds.  Remove them from the boiling water and drop them in an ice water bath)  Of course you can use high quality canned tomatoes if it is not tomato season.

Re-season the sauce and toss in a little fresh basil. Add the cubes of swordfish and bring the sauce up to temperature over medium heat.   Drain your pasta when it is still al dente and add it to the sauce.  Cook the pasta and sauce together for 2-3 minutes to bring the dish together.  Serve in a deep bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.  Serve the dish with a white wine that has generous acidity.

I like to pair this with our Croze Viognier, as the bright acidity on the finish really compliments the dish.

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Ciccio in Yountville

I am often asked by customers and friends who visit the Napa Valley which restaurants I recommend.  There is no shortage of fine dining options here in the Valley and, in particular Yountville, where I live.  My number one recommendation is always a small local Italian Restaurant called Ciccio.

What can I say about Ciccio that has not already been said.  They have received critical acclaim from the Travel Channel, SF Chronicle, and just about every other publication that reviews restaurants.  The food there is simple and amazing.  Most of the reviews I have seen focus on the food, as they should.  However, it is the people that keep us going back and giving recommendations.  We are lucky enough to be within walking distance so we dine there often.

The staff at Ciccio are simply fantastic.  Their attention to detail when it comes to hospitality is way above what you expect from a neighborhood pizza and pasta joint.  The crew treats every table as if they are family visiting for Sunday dinner.  Quite honestly, that is the best way to describe the overall vibe here…family dinner.  On most nights you can find the owner there at his table, with his family having dinner.

From the hostess to the servers, everyone makes a point to visit our table and make sure everything is perfect.  They are genuine and accommodating.  For that we make Ciccio a weekly stop and encourage all of our visitors to give it a try.

I could list our favorite dishes and recommend things to try, but why?  Everything on the menu is great.  Pick something that sounds good to you and you will not be disappointed.  Just make sure you order a pre-dinner negroni and a bottle of wine!

Thanks to our friends at Ciccio for providing us such a wonderful neighborhood restaurant.

Pizza at Ciccio
Pizza at Ciccio

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