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Grilled Swordfish

Updated on October 24, 2020
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Lee has a degree in philosophy, but when cooking, Lee is more like an experimental scientist than an abstract thinker. Loves new ideas.

Simple, Quick, Healthy, Delicious

They call these steaks. For good reason. Well-grilled, well-sauced pieces of swordfish stand toe-to-toe with any piece of meat on earth. The ocean provides magnificent food, and swordfish demonstrates that fact convincingly. Plus, of course, the thickness and shape of these pieces of swordfish remind us of steak.

For many diners, a night out at a restaurant is mainly an opportunity to sample what the ocean has to offer. Restaurants with the word "seafood" in their name tend to do a rollicking business. But these swordfish steaks we can grill at home and do it just as well as just about any restaurant. Simplicity is a virtue with seafood, and here we have an opportunity for simplicity -- to spare.

It is difficult to think of health at a time like this, with your mouth watering. But we really should put in a plug for health and long life. Eating seafood regularly is one of the best things you can do to achieve these ends, but really it is the delicious taste that now commands our attention. So read on!

Grilled swordfish.

Start with these

This is not a modernist painting, much as it may look like it -- but rather the start to a great meal, a start which consists of the following ingredients in a sort of marinade which the grilling we about to do will turn into a delicious sauce:

- Upper left hand corner: Dijon mustard

- Lower left hand: fresh-squeezed lime juice

- Middle dot and lower right hand corner: soy sauce

- Underneath all: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

These ingredients make a great marinade for almost any kind of fish, not just swordfish. I think they work best on the grill, but you can use them as a broiling sauce as well, or even in a fry pan. The proportions can also vary. If you want a taste that is a little saltier, increase the soy. For a taste that is more tart, increase the lime juice. Maybe you prefer lemon juice here -- the main ingredients can be fiddled with a bit. I would recommend always going with these basic ingredients, however (considering the lemon juice as also basic), and then adding other items to the basics if desired. Hot sauce or a bit of red pepper, for example.

The Dijon mustard perhaps has a special place. The amount you add depends on how much you like mustard, of course, but there is something about it that goes so very well with swordfish in particular.

Mix together

With a fork.

Delicious as is, but wait till it's on the grill and the heat blends it all together!

There is a certain reduction also from the heat of the grill, and that reduction -- sizzled into existence -- concentrates flavors. And we are not opposed to concentrated flavors.

Add the swordfish steaks

The flesh of swordfish is unusually firm, and this makes it ideal for grilling This characteristic also makes swordfish perhaps the best fish to survive being frozen, sold in a market, then thawed at home -- not only survive but retain just about everything that it had when it was fresh..

Here we are just coating the swordfish steaks in the marinade briefly. This enhances the steaks a bit and also help keep them from sticking to the preheated grill. You do preheat your grill, do you not?

The taste is unusually mild, and this makes it ideal for marinades with strong flavors, like mustard and lime juice. Spicy tomato sauce is delicious with swordfish also, as are many others, pesto, for example. Pioneer! -- try it with chimmichurri sauce, which is used for steak in Argentina. Please comment below and tell us about your explorations.

Put the marinade on the top shelf

We want it to be up there, with the lid closed, just long enough to hiss and boil a bit. This blends everything together and enhances taste

Not up there too long, however, or the mustard will curdle too much and refuse to blend. We also want to make sure that the liquids do not sizzle away. Check on the sauce frequently.

The swordfish steaks themselves will take longer, three or four minutes per side..


Done and delicious. Swordfish can be eaten raw, sliced very thin as sashimi, so grilling need not take long. Some people, however, prefer a longer grilling time.

The grill marks look great on this white steak. These grill marks were produced after four minutes. Maybe three minutes at most now on the other side.

In with the marinade

Note that the skin is till on the end. Some people eat this as well, but most pare it away.

At any rate, our splendid grilled swordfish steaks are now ready for the plate.

On the plate

Here it is paired with grilled vegetables -- onion wedges and three baby veggies, broccoli, bok choy, and carrots. Actually there are some thin strips of potato in there as well; they were grilled also, right with the others.

Lathered with our original marinade, of course, a marinade which has now become a perfect sauce for this rather dry fish.

Capers would be a nice addition as well. In fact, capers are practically mandatory because their saltiness and crunch add a lot despite their small size.

As you can see from the "Another treatment" photo below, grilling some lemons along with the swordfish steaks is a great idea. Not only looks great, but adds a new taste.


Another treatment

Parting facts

Swordfish are impressive creatures, rather like oceanic Knight-errants. They were classically fished in the Straits of Messina, the straits between Sicily and the mainland of Italy, but in fact they are a worldwide species.

Two of the more interesting facts I have found about them are these: a) when hooked they dive quickly and powerfully, in one case so powerfully that the fish rammed its bill and head into the bottom of the ocean, up to its eyes; and b) a large female swordfish was once found to be carrying 29 million eggs.

Real meal

Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped to perfection and food itself is secondary, all of the pictures shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal:a Real meal.


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