Best Swordfish Recipe
How To Make Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Wine Butter Sauce
Swordfish is a “meaty” white fish with a light flavor. It’s a good choice if you don’t like a “fishy” fish or not sure if your guests like fish. Its hearty texture holds up well to grilling – in this recipe we take swordfish steaks and give them a direct sear.
For a “restaurant-style” experience, we’ve paired the fish with a lemon caper sauce, also made on the grill. Give your stove the night off and enjoy a delicious meal at your new favorite seafood restaurant – your home!
We suggest choosing swordfish steaks greater than one inch in thickness. Look for steaks with bright color. The darker pigmented areas should be red, not brown. The whirling pattern in the steak should be tight and the steak as a whole should be firm. Frozen steaks are a good choice when fresh isn’t available – follow the same guidelines.
How to Prepare Swordfish
Can You Eat Swordfish Skin?
Your steaks may come skin-on, it’s perfectly fine to cook the steaks leaving the skin in place. Keep in mind the skin is inedible and does have a strong flavor. If you’re looking to maintain a mild flavor throughout the steak, you may want to consider removing the skin before continuing with prep.
Dry brine (sprinkle with Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp per pound) one hour to one day in advance. The longer the salt has to enter the flesh and hold on to moisture in the meat, the juicier your final product. After brining, dry the swordfish very well with a paper towel, then lightly coat with olive oil on all sides and then apply a moderate coating of freshly cracked black pepper.
If you choose to make the sauce, assemble all the ingredients into a small saucepan (see below) and set aside until you start cooking. You’ll add the saucepan to the grill while cooking the fish and finish up the sauce while the fish is resting.
How to Cook Swordfish on the Grill
Coal or Charcoal
Get a half chimney of coals (~40 briquettes or similar amount of lump charcoal) lit and let them heat up until about 70% ashed over. You want a few of those top briquettes to still be black so that there will be enough fuel for the cook.
How Long to Grill Swordfish
Allow the grill to heat up for 5-10 minutes until you can’t hold your hand over the coals for more than a second or two. When the grill reaches temperature, place the swordfish over direct heat (on the grate above the coals) and cook for 4 minutes, or until the fish easily pulls off the grate. Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes. After about 7-8 minutes, pull them off the heat to the indirect side and take an internal temperature reading on the swordfish.
Internal Temp of Swordfish
You want the fish internal temp to be anywhere from 130-135 degrees before letting them rest. If you haven’t reached that temperature, finish cooking on the indirect side using the cracked lid technique until you reach your desired temp. Once done, remove the fish from the grill and let it rest a few minutes before serving.
Lemon Caper Sauce
- 1/2 shallot, finely diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp capers
- 1/2 a lemon, juiced
- 4 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter
How to Make Lemon Caper Sauce
Combine the shallot, white wine, cream, Dijon mustard, capers and lemon juice in a small saucepan. This will go on the grill along with the swordfish. The sauce needs to reduce by half before finishing it with the butter. Keeping it on the grill (even if not over direct heat) while the fish is cooking will give the sauce plenty of time to reduce and the timing will be perfect to finish the sauce once the fish has cooked.
Once the fish is done, move the pan over direct heat to finish reducing, if needed. Once the sauce is half its original volume, move the pan back over to the indirect side and add the butter in 1 Tbsp at a time. Stir to help incorporate the butter into the sauce between additions. Repeat until all the butter has been added.
Spoon sauce over the plated swordfish and enjoy!
- Choose steaks at least one inch thick.
- Dry brine at least one hour (overnight for best results)
- Lightly brush with oil and season with pepper
- Swordfish grill time is about 4 minutes per side over medium heat
- If needed, move steaks to the indirect side until internal temp reaches 130° F.
We recommend our SnS-100 instant thermometer to help you keep track of your swordfish temperature.