Between preference and passion, it is rare that I open a can in the kitchen. Many are loaded with salt and sugar, and most are a poor flavor substitute for fresh. However, while I would argue that avoiding canned goods is generally good shorthand for healthier eating, I don’t shun them unilaterally.
Coconut milk, curry pastes, chipotles in adobo and artichoke hearts and bottoms regularly occupy my shelves, along with tomato paste (which is only 1/4th the cost of what they package in squeezable tubes). San Marzano tomatoes, however, with the Italian D.O.P. designation on the label, hold a special place in my heart.
Denominazione Origine Protetta (D.O.P.) means that these canned tomatoes are truly the heirloom San Marzano variety, grown in the volcanic ash-rich soils in the Valley of Sarno near Mount Vesuvius. These are commonly lauded as the best tasting sauce tomatoes in the world. Taste aside, they are far lower in sodium than their American cousins, listing 20-30 mg per serving compared to amounts starting at 125 mg.
The real risk here, health aside, is a sauce or stew that tastes far too salty. So grab a can and get your year off to a healthy delicious start. Simmer a can with fresh garlic, a half teaspoon of anchovy paste and a splash of red wine vinegar for a quick pasta sauce, add a can to a cauliflower and cabbage soup, or, get a little more fancy, and try this swordfish stew. It’s hearty enough for cold winter weather, and healthy to help you meet those New Year’s goals.
Andouille Swordfish Stew
Swordfish is generally clean and meaty tasting. You can cut away any dark or bloody looking pieces to avoid their fishier flavor.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 link Andouille sausage, quartered and cut in 1/2” slices*
- 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups fingerling, or other low-starch potatoes, like Yukon gold or red, cut in 1” pieces
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 14 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbs dried oregano
- 1 1/2 lbs swordfish steaks, 1” thick, skinned and cut in 1” cubes
- 1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
*Andouille sausage is smoked, making it firm enough to slice before further cooking. If you find your andouille is raw, squeeze it out of the casing and brown it to start the stew.
- Warm 2 tbs olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove with slotted spoon, leaving the remaining fat in the pan
- Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
- Add potatoes and cook for five minutes. Add wine, partially cover the pot, and stew until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add tomatoes, bay, oregano and cooked sausage. Cover and cook until potatoes are easily split with a knife, about 10-20 minutes.
- Stir in swordfish and rosemary. Re-cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until fish is cooked through.
- Stir in remaining olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.