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How to Cook Swordfish

by Natalie Smith, studioD

Swordfish steaks have a distinct, savory flavor that differentiates them from other large deep-sea fish such as tuna or tilefish. In addition to its rich flavor, swordfish is considered a lean meat, and it is a good source of selenium, niacin, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin B12. Pair any preparation with a salad tossed with creamy dressing and slices of crusty baguette. However you prepare swordfish, you can feel confident that you are serving your family a healthy meal they will enjoy.


When you think about thick fish steaks like swordfish, you probably imagine grilling them. Swordfish go well with mesquite chips, so place a foil packet of 1 cup of presoaked mesquite chips on the coals or over the heating element. The trick to grilling firm swordfish steaks that do not look ragged on the edges is to brush olive oil over the grill grates and onto the steaks before you cook them. Grill swordfish over high heat for approximately three to four minutes on each side.


You may not have known that you can saute swordfish steaks. The secret to perfect sauteed swordfish steaks is selecting an oil that complements the swordfish. The steaks absorb the flavor of the oil, so don't just settle for your usual canola oil. Instead, select more flavorful oils like peanut oil, sesame oil or pure olive oil to highlight the flavor of the swordfish. When you saute the swordfish, sear the steaks first to seal in the juices. Then reduce the heat and continue cooking until the steaks are opaque all the way through.


The steaks will also cook to a juicy and flavorful finish under the broiler. Brush the broiler pan and the swordfish with olive oil to keep it from sticking to the pan. The oil also prevents the steaks from drying out under the hot broiler. Rub them with herbs like cilantro, basil or garlic, or use a convenient seasoning mix or a dill-seasoned dip mix. Swordfish steaks need 10 minutes under the broiler to cook well done.


If you prefer a more tender steak with a more delicate flavor, poach the swordfish by simmering it in white wine, carrots, onions and celery. This combination is called "court bouillon," and it is frequently used to poach seafood of all types. The swordfish steaks absorb the subtle flavors of the court bouillon and cook to a tender finish in about 20 minutes over medium heat. If you are cooking for children, they may prefer poached seafood because it is easier to eat and has a milder flavor. Note that the alcohol content of the wine evaporates completely in cooking.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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