Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Florida Swordfish with Lemon Caper Sauce and Antoinette Pope School of Cooking

This was the best tasting swordfish I've ever had which we got from Shelly's Seafood in Homosassa. It wasn't because of the sauce because that was really good. And it wasn't because I'm such a good cook, although Gary and others say I am. But the swordfish was so tender and flavorful, must be because it was so fresh and perhaps the flavor of fish from the Florida gulf is different tasting. I don't know. It was a bit like tasting wine from a different country, you taste the undertones of the earth it's grown in. The Florida swordfish was the same way I could taste the undertones of the gulf water it lived in. Just to verify this point I asked Gary and he said he tasted it too, so it must be true. Right?

Anyway start your rice cooking first, ready your broccoli (turn it on to steam after the rice is almost cooked), and assemble ingredients for sauce. Then take a couple of pats of butter and a couple of chopped and minced garlic cloves and put in a sauce pan on medium heat. Meanwhile drain the swordfish steaks on a paper towel on both sides. When the butter is melted add the swordfish to the pan and brown on both sides. Then cover and turn down the heat to cook steaks through..

Lemon Caper Sauce

1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of one lemon and some lemon zest to your taste
1/4 cup butter (I know, every once in a while it''s ok)
1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with a dab of warm water
1 tablespoon of capers, drained well and patted dry

Here are the capers drained on paper towel. I have this antique double boiler made of porcelain coated metal which I love. Water goes in the bottom portion of the double boiler and the sauce in the top. Put the wine in first and let it boil to reduce by one third. Next add in the lemon juice and zest and bring to almost boiling. Add the butter one pat at a time and stir constantly till melted. Last add the cornstarch mixture and stir constantly till thickened about 3 minutes or so. Remove sauce from double boiler and stir in capers gently. If you've played your cards right and everything is ready at the same time, the swordfish should be cooked through and you can drizzle the sauce over the fish and serve the meal. I've been cooking since I was sixteen so I can juggle all this at the same time but even I must work quickly to get it all to come together at the same time. Sometimes I wonder where my sous-chef is when I need him?

You can't go wrong cooking hollandaiseBearnaise, or this lemon caper sauce with a double boiler. If you don't use a double boiler the butter may separate, not good. Even if you do use a double boiler the sauce may separate if it gets too hot or isn't stirred constantly. If the sauce does start to separate while cooking, immediately remove pan from the heat, take a wire wisk and slowly sitr in one teaspoon of boiling water from the bottom of the double boiler (see that's why the double boiler is necessary). Stir constantly till blended.

I learned this sauce saving tip from the Antoinette Pope Cookbook which was our family cookbook on my mother's side. I was amazed to see the new hardback at $456. Wow, I could buy a whole lot of food and spices with that price tag. Of course my Pope cookbook isn't new but it might be the newest version which is getting harder and harder to find. Click this link (and scroll down) to learn more about Antoinette Pope and her cooking school from a Chicago Tribune article. All this time I thought Antoinette was French but she was Italian, her husband was French and that's where she learned to cook. My Aunt Helen who has long since passed away went to Pope's cooking school in Chicago.
Curiously my mother hates to cook so when I was a teenager I started to make recipes I found in Pope's cookbook. My mom had her old stand by dishes like fish sticks, baked chicken, pot roast, liver and onions and the like. She cooked liver and onions hard as a rock and dry as a bone and we couldn't leave the table till we ate it all. Ugh. I started thinking there must be different ways to cook food and have it taste good so I taught myself to cook by reading the cookbook we had. Of course my family encouraged me because they got to be the tasters of all the recipes I tried. And there were some famous failures, but that's another story. Please let me know what you think by commenting; I love hearing from you, thanks.


  1. Hum....que delicia!!

    Bj e bom dia!!

  2. we love capers, so I am going to have to give that sauce a try... and i have a double boiler!

  3. Oh yummy! Capers and fish...mmmmm!

  4. That sounds delicious. I try some of your recipes and have never had one that wasn't a treat. I also appreciate the advice about the double boiler, these are the tricks I never found in a cookbook. Thanks

  5. Your recipes always sound delicious. I think you're probably right about where fish comes from changing its taste. Thanks so much for sharing about how you came to be the good cook you now are!

  6. Reading your blog frequently makes me hungry! :)

  7. I have never eaten capers but you have piqued my curiosity. I'm gonna have to try that!

  8. It look delicious!


  9. Thanks, this looks terrific!

  10. wow- what a great plate! saw the kind of fish you posted about a few weeks ago at Trader Joe's recently and thought of you. Forget what it's called now. char? Hmmm Yum!

  11. Lucky Gary gets the benefit of your mother being an uninventive cook. You ought to open a small but exclusive, Bed and Dinner. It would be a hit. Bed and Breakfast's are OK but how neat would be a B&D?

  12. Hi Ma Ferreira, thanks so much.

    Hi Michele, thanks, any good French cook would, ha. it's good on chicken too.

    Hi Ms. Turquoise, thanks, I love capers.

    Hi Lori, thanks, the Pope cookbook is full of little tips like that, if you find one used it would be well worth the cost.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I was telling Shelly at the fish market that and she said most folks learn from their mothers how to cook but I was just the opposite. Ha.

    Hi Julia, thanks, just looking at the photos makes me hungry too because I remember how good it tasted. Ha.

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, they are like a very mild pickle in flavor but tangy and sweet, give them a try, they aren't cheap though, if you have a Trader Joe's near you they might be less there.

    Hi Elna, thanks, very tasty for sure.

    Hi Ronna, thanks, give it a try.

    Hi Amy, thanks, that's one of my plates that finally turned out I made them a bit thicker, was it Wahoo?

    Hi Patti, thanks, hey what a good idea, I could use the income that's for sure. Now to get that health permit with my cats running around here might be another problem.

  13. yes! wahoo is what it was. what a great memory you have!


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment