1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Cooking Swordfish - Swordfish is a Giant Among Fish


Swordfish Steaks
Shawn Miller/Moment/Getty Images

Meaty Swordfish is Made for the Grill:

When most of us think swordfish, we think...well, isn't it endangered? Thanks to you, the answer -- at least for American fish -- is a resounding no.

It is true that swordfish stocks were hammered in the 1980s and early 1990s, but a nationwide movement to give swordfish a break worked: Now North Atlantic stocks are on the rebound, and environmental watchdog groups list them as a "good alternative."

As for Pacific swordfish, they were never in trouble -- especially those around Hawaii. They get an "A" rating as a sustainable seafood choice by groups like the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

You still should avoid imported swordfish, however, so it is especially important to buy American with swordfish.

On to the eating.

Swordfish is made for the grill. Is is always sold as steaks, and the meat is so firm and, well, meaty, that many non-fish eaters will gladly eat sword. This texture also helps prevent the steaks from falling apart on the grill, a huge plus.

A typical swordfish meal would be a simple olive oil-based marinade, then a time on the grill, then served simply with lemon, salt and herbs. Good sword needs nothing more than this.

Cook swordfish like you would a rare steak: Use high heat to sear the outside, and let it stay a little rare in the middle. I cook it about 5 minutes on one side, then 2-3 minutes on the other for an inch-thick steak. The uneven time gives you a great sear on one side (the side you serve facing up) while not overcooking the swordfish.

Make sure to leave the skin on when you grill, but take it off to serve: The skin is rubbery, but helps keep the meat moist.

But sword is also a fantastic stewing fish because it won't dissolve. Use it for a fish chowder, or as a component in something like Cioppino or another fish stew, or slowly simmer it in tomato sauce.

Swordfish also makes a stellar 'tunafish' when you poach it slowly in olive oil, then flake it into a salad. It is deeply meaty this way, and will kick up a salad Nicoise or even a classic tuna salad.

Sword is generally not a great candidate for poaching or deep frying, although a quick saute or sear in a hot pan works well.

When choosing swordfish, look for the little strip of dark meat to be red, not brown. If it's brown, the meat is old. Know that East Coast swordfish tends to be a little rosier than Pacific sword; it's their diet, which is mainly other fish plus a little squid.

Tightly wrapped swordfish freezes well for about 3-4 months; beyond that goes downhill fast.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.