Swordfish might seem like a difficult fish to get right, but there is really nothing to be intimidated about. In fact, it is one of the easier fishes to cook. Swordfish steak is a white and flaky fish that has a mild taste and is an excellent choice for those looking to broaden their seafood palates. And, since the problems of the days of overfishing this gem of the North Atlantic have been corrected, this swordfish recipe should be a go-to for high-flavor and low-maintenance cooking that's sure to impress. (Though, you will want to note that its mercury levels are still a bit high, so eating swordfish too often might not be ideal.)

Skills With the Swordfish

This is such a simple dish that you can prepare swordfish in about five minutes in the morning and leave it in the refrigerator until you get home from work. If you don’t have a grill, you can pan-sear swordfish in a cast-iron skillet. Just put olive oil and even a small pat of butter in the pan and cook on high heat for four to five minutes per side. We recommend this fish dish to be paired with a green salad or green beans, and a flavored rice or boiled potatoes with fresh parsley and butter.

Adaptations on Swordfish

A nice way to add some extra flavor to a swordfish recipe is to finely chop fresh basil and sprinkle over the swordfish steaks during prep time. Let the fish marinate for at least 40 minutes so that the flavors really permeate the fish. Swordfish offers a satisfying and healthy main course, and if you might like to add a few well-earned calories, a tarragon-infused melted butter is heaven with any swordfish recipe.

Total Time: 60 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 2


  • 2 (3 to 6 ounces) of pole-and-line caught Atlantic swordfish steaks (preferably North Atlantic if you have the option)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil onto the swordfish steaks and turn them over. Repeat so that all the meat is covered.

  2. Squeeze the lemon juice over the steaks and rub the lemon on them, turning them over for full coverage.

  3. Sprinkle the salt on the swordfish steaks.

  4. Let swordfish steaks sit for about 40 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal.

  5. When the grill is ready, place steaks on high heat and cook for four to five minutes.

  6. Flip over and cook the other side for four to five minutes.

  7. Remove the steaks from grill once the fish is opaque and flaky, making sure not to overcook them.

Remember, you can always put the swordfish steaks back on the grill if you feel you’ve undercooked them, but make extra sure you’re not overcooking because the fish will become chewy and tough.


If you don’t have a grill, you can pan-sear swordfish in a cast-iron skillet.

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About the Author

Valentina Valentini

Valentina Valentini is a freelance journalist with bylines for Vanity Fair, Variety, Vulture and more for entertainment; Los Angeles Times and Refinery29 for personal essays; VICE and Fast Company for sports and culture. More recently, she's focused on travel/food writing for Departures, BBC Travel and others. She has a degree in Communication from CalState and now is in London completing her Masters in Creative Nonfiction.