Swordfish: The Healthy Steak of the Sea

Posted on September 22, 2011


A swordfish without the sword.

This week I cooked swordfish for the first time in my life. As a young twenty-something and on a tight budget, I buy whatever is on sale. Although I would love to eat salmon twice a week, it’s just not happening. Woe is me, I had to try swordfish to fill my imaginary fish quota of the week. Heh.

I cooked it the way I would lavish love on a piece of salmon: in a pan with some olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Hold the capers. This hearty fish took a little more than 5 minutes on one side and 4 on the other, as swordfish is more of a beastly animal than salmon (translation: thicker sections). Overall, I think it was a success. Julia can weigh in, if she reads this, as she was the guest of honor for this dinner.

Swordfish Steak: The Healthy Kind of Steak

A swordfish without the sword.

Remember, take it out of the pan before you think it's cooked through.


  • swordfish fillets
  • minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper

The most important part is the beginning. Do not, I repeat, do not put the swordfish in your pan and then turn the burner on. Instead, put a little bit (not a lot!) of olive oil in the pan and turn your burner on mediumish-high. Use a heavy, thick bottomed pan if you have one. Wait until the oil is sizzling and the pan is super hot before putting your swordfish in it. You want to brown the outside before it cooks all the way through.

Cook the swordfish about 7-8 minutes on one side and 6-7 minutes on the other. As cuts can vary, so can times. If your cut is super thick (translation: 1.5 to 2 inches thick), it will take a little longer for each side. When you press down on the fish and it doesn’t bounce back, it’s cooked on the inside. Don’t forget to add about a teaspoon of minced garlic while it’s cooking. It’ll roast alongside the fish and complement the future lemon flavor exceedingly well.

Here’s a hint: your fish will keep cooking even when you take it out of the pan. You don’t want to overcook any kind of fish. When you think it’s done, it’ll be overdone and when you think it could use another minute, it’ll be perfect. Just make sure it isn’t cushiony in the pan. I get a little nervous when cooking fish, so I usually cut it straight through the middle to make sure there’s a tiny uncooked section before adding the last touches and quickly removing it from the heat.

Drizzle some lemon on the fillets about a minute before they’re finished. It’ll seep right into the fish and flavor it with a light citrus zing. Finish it off with a little bit of salt and pepper. Wooo! Dinner is served.