A while ago, a friend of mine was looking for a holiday destination that was exotic yet not too far from France, as she was not able to take a long vacation from work. Madeira, also known by the name of its capital city Funchal, is this tiny Portuguese Island isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, off the North West coast of Africa, facing Morocco from afar. It sounded like a plan for her. She told me about this place, and I realized I’ve always known the name of the island and its approximate location, however I couldn’t tell anything at all about its cultural background. So, because this week I was thinking about this friend that I haven’t seen in a while (Annabelle), I recalled of our conversation and thought I would make a quick research of my own. And cook something from there, obviously!
Like on all islands, fish is central in the local cuisine. Even though Portugal has a strong influence in the way people of Madeira cook their fish, the island itself takes advantage of what its favorable climate offers its ground, and adds its very own flavors to all of the dishes. Indeed, while Madeira is not a sub-tropical island by its geography, locals harvest a lot of tropical and exotic fruits all year round. Therefore it is very naturally that Madeira cuisine combines fish and exotic fruits, making sweet and sour top dishes, local-style. The main fruits that are mentioned in online found recipes are plantain banana and passion fruit. Although plantain didn’t sound like a surprise to me, I was less aware of the chance to find passion fruit in Madeira – where it is called maracuja by the way. Based on a recipe that I have seen copied many times on the web, I have – like others before me – adapted mine from the blog Fiore di Sale, and made here today a beautiful Grilled Swordfish, Passion Fruit and Banana, with a mash of Sweet Potato as a side. I have tried to make it elegant on the plate for a change. The taste was really nice and interesting I would say. Not the type of dish that I would like to eat on a daily basis, but definitely once in a while. Did I mention the preparation is easy, quick, and almost effortless? Now, on to our Swordfish and Passion Fruit, from Madeira.
INGREDIENTS for 2
- 300 grams of swordfish
- 2 small bananas, ideally plantains
- 3 passion fruits
- 2 portions of sweet potato
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- a bit of salted butter
- a bit of flour
- salt, pepper, sugar
- green leaves (side) and olive oil
- Bake the sweet potato in the oven, at 180 degrees for one hour. Or boil frozen sweet potato bites for a few minutes in a saucepan.
- Cut the bananas in half, length-ways. Sprinkle sugar, top with peanut-size pieces of salted butter, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Lightly flour the fish, salt and pepper, and grill in the pan a few minutes on each side in olive oil.
- In the meantime, get the sweet potato out of the oven (or the saucepan, and drain). You can either choose to slice it and plate up with a dollop of melted butter, or mash it into a purée with salt, pepper and butter too, then shape it with a kitchen circle directly on each plate.
- Serve the swordfish steaks on 2 individual plates.
- Spoon out the passion fruits in a bowl, and heat a quick 15-20 seconds in the microwave oven. Display all over the fish.
- Set the bananas next to the fish on both plates.
- Serve the dish with fresh green leaves, only season with olive oil.
- Have a great trip on your plate!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.