Swordfish with Olives, Capers & Tomatoes over Polenta


Dive deliciously into the Mediterranean diet with this healthy fish recipe, which takes its inspiration from southern Italy. In Sicily and Calabria, the ghiotta style of cooking involves simmering fish or meat with celery, olives, capers, basil and tomatoes. Serve the fish and sauce over creamy polenta for an easy dinner recipe that requires just 20 minutes of active prep time.

a piece of fish on top of polenta on a blue plate
Prep Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
4 servings


  • 2 ½ cups water

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ½ cup coarse or regular yellow cornmeal or polenta

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 medium stalks celery, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

  • ¼ cup green olives, such as Sicilian colossal or Cerignola, rinsed, pitted and coarsely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

  • teaspoon ground pepper

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • 1 pound swordfish, cut into 4 steaks

  • Fresh basil for garnish


  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 1/4 tsp. salt. Slowly pour in cornmeal (or polenta) in a gentle stream, stirring rapidly with a whisk or wooden spoon to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the polenta easily comes away from the sides of the pan, 20 to 25 minutes. While stirring, crush any lumps against the side of the pan. If the polenta becomes too thick to stir, add 1/2 cup water. The final texture should be similar to a thick porridge. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until aromatic but not browned, 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, olives, basil, capers, ground pepper, crushed red pepper, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Place swordfish steaks in the simmering sauce. Cover and cook until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. To serve, spoon the polenta onto a large serving platter. Arrange the fish over the polenta, top with the sauce, and garnish with fresh basil, if desired.


To make ahead: Refrigerate polenta (Steps 1-2) for up to 1 week. To reheat, combine with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

276 Calories
12g Fat
19g Carbs
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 piece swordfish + 1/2 cup sauce + 1/3 cup polenta
Calories 276
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 22g 44%
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Vitamin A 1088IU 22%
Vitamin C 19mg 22%
Folate 22mcg 6%
Sodium 536mg 23%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Magnesium 57mg 14%
Potassium 579mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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