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Swordfish with herb and caper sauce recipe

Swordfish with herb and caper sauce recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Seafood
  • Fish
  • White fish
  • Swordfish

This tasty, simple and quick way to prepare swordfish works just as well with other firm fish.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 4 swordfish steaks
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • juice of 1 lemon

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Cook the swordfish steaks in a saucepan with some oil over medium heat for about 6 minutes, turning once, and then place on a serving dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In the same saucepan, add the parsley, oregano and capers and stir for about a minute. Add more oil if necessary. Add the lemon juice and mix again. Pour the sauce on the swordfish steaks and serve.

To serve

These swordfish steaks go well with a cherry tomato and rocket salad.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reynolds Kitchens tip

Use a Reynolds Kitchens® Bakeware Non-Stick fish pan for easy release.


  • 1 Reynolds Kitchens® Bakeware Non-Stick fish pan
  • 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • two 6 ounce swordfish fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • serving suggestions: serve with brown rice and broccoli

Simple Swordfish with a Lemon Caper Butter Sauce

Swordfish has always been a favorite fish of mine. In college I worked at a restaurant that served a dish they called Swordfish Madagascar. It was by far my favorite dish there. The chefs at the restaurant had this preparation on the menu all the time because it was so popular.

The fish was grilled, then finished with a simple lemon-butter sauce, but what made it unique were the fresh, soft green Madagascar peppercorns use to finish the sauce. These peppercorns are so fragrant and have an interesting bite to them. They served the dish simply over rice and it was amazing.

There was a period of time when swordfish got a bad rap because the large fish can carry worms in the meat and also have high levels of mercury. I didn’t eat it for a few years, but cold water swordfish doesn’t generally have the worms and people have quit talking about it as much so I have gone back to eating it occasionally.

I saw swordfish on sale recently, and it looked delicious so I brought home two big steaks for dinner that night. Swordfish is a heartier, meatier fish that is often described as “steaky.” I like it because it holds up when you cook it on the grill but has a mellow, simple flavor to it.

On this night I didn’t think through what I was going to make with the fish once I brought it home. I fondly recalled the swordfish dish of my past but only had capers on hand. So, I decided to make a version of this dish using capers rather than the peppercorns.

What is nice about this meal is that it is relatively healthy, it is super simple to cook, but it also has a great flavor. I made this on a night when we had been active all day, and I didn’t have much time to prep.

I started some rice in a rice cooker then got to work on the butter sauce. Right before serving I sautéed a pile of spinach. That was basically it.

Serve the fish in a shallow bowl with rice on the bottom and spinach on the side. Top with the fish and let the sauce melt into the rest of the dish so it all goes together. Clean up is a snap and since you can cook the fish on a grill outside, you have the added benefit of it not making your house too hot since you don’t need to really use the stove.

My husband grilled the fish so I can’t tell you exactly how long to cook it for, and it also depends on the size of the swordfish steaks. One tip that I can share with you, though, is to try not to move the fish once you have added it to the grill except to flip it once. If you keep messing with it the meat can fall apart a little bit.

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I added capers for a bit more flavor.

Followed the recipe and was underwhelmed. Too lemony for my taste.

Add some chopped capers and anchovy and this would be a classic italian salsa verde.

Marinade is scrumptious! I had some fresh oregano available so I threw some of that in as well. Would work with any type of fish.

I made this exactly as written (but only marinated for an hour) and it was so delicious. Great flavors don't overpowering the fish. I served it with very simple cubed and roasted eggplant, which was also great with the sauce, and a tomato and basil salad. Scrumptious.

Made this last night and it was delicious. Marinated for about 2 hours and grilled the fish on the barbeque. The flavor was exceptional and we decided it's a keeper for sure!

Fast, easy and delicious--my favorite qualities!

This was terrible! Based on the ingredient list I thought I would love this recipe, but the lemon overpowered the entire dish. I couldn't even finish the fish and I usually love anything with lemon flavoring.

Made this last night for company.I don't cook swordfish alot so I found this and tried it. It is delicious !! Very easy ,moist and tender. I will definately make this again.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make and the fish came out delicious. I more or less winged it with the ingredients - throwing in handfuls of parsley, zest and juice of a whole lemon, a healthy dose of olive oil, and lots of garlic. I then mixed everything in a blender and adjusted the flavor by smell. I marinated the fish for about 30 minutes and then seared and cooked it on a cast iron skillet.

Very good, power went out while marinating so grilled instead of broiling. Also didn't have quite enought parsley, but still tasted great, we enjoyed it, kids included.

Quick, easy, non fish eating partner loved it!

I was looking for a simple recipe that would keep my swordfish moist and tasty. This is it. The family loved it!

The sauce is delicious! I served this with green beans and used the sauce to dress them.

Very tasty. I tossed all the herbs and what not in the food processor. Served with roasted new potatos with spring herb pesto and spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Next time I make it I'll prob use mahi mahi

broiling fish makes me very nervous, so i used the convection roast setting at 325 and baked for 20 minutes uncovered. it was perfect--next time i will attempt to conquer my "fear of broiling".

I didn't have any parsely on hand, and substituted with basil and grilled the steaks - the contrasting flavors were a delight!

Delicious! Instead of broiling I tossed it on the grill, and that just helped the flavor. Definitely recommend this one!

My husband, my sister and I absolutely loved this recipe! Instead of broiling, however, I cut the fish into 1-inch chunks and marinated it and some white and crimini mushrooms in the sauce, adding more garlic than called for. After an hour or so, I threaded the fish and mushrooms onto skewers along with some fresh red peppers and onions, and grilled ɾm on the barbecue. Absolutely delish! I'm adding this to my recipe box and will definitely it again and again.

My family and I liked this dish. There are some other swordfish recipes on this site we prefer Swordfish with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce, and Pan-seared Swordfish Steaks with Shallot,Caper, andBalsamic Sauce.

Preheat the broiler. Brush the fish lightly on both sides with 1 T olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the fish on a small wire rack set inside an ovenproof dish. Broil 4" from heat source for 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook another 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, capers and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, swirling the pan, for 2 - 3 minutes to heat through.

Stir in the parsley. Place the swordfish on dinner plates and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately.

Grilled Swordfish With Dill and Caper Butter Sauce

First and foremost, it’s meaty. Unlike the lighter and flakier white fillets — such as flounder or tilapia — a quality cut of swordfish could easily play the part of a steak in a pescetarian’s diet thanks to it’s full-bodied texture. Secondly it’s mild in flavor, which allows for flexibility and makes it a great “starter” fish for anyone looking to incorporate more fish into their diets but are hesitant on whether or not they *love* it. And finally, swordfish is a sustainable option. Best options are caught by handlines, harpoons, or buoys from the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and U.S. North Atlantic. You may also find good alternatives at your market, which are caught by large mesh drift gillnets, pelagic longline, or shallow-set longline from California, U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and the East Pacific. But as always, if the fish your eyeing isn’t labelled, ask your trusty fishmonger.

So okay. You’ve probably heard (or read) me say that I try to stay away from dill-y and lemony sauces when it comes to fish — especially salmon — because it’s a little too standard and, if I can be honest, kind of humdrum. What can I say? I eat a lot of fish, and I like to keep things exciting with miso-glazed salmon and cod with beer and mushroom sauce. BUT. Capers are a total game-changer, and swordfish is pretty damn awesome when done simple. So this recipe? It’s a win.


A pan sauce is a simple way to dress up saut é ed seafood. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know which fish to choose these days. Many species are overfished or are harvested using horrendous practices that destroy the very environment needed to keep them viable and available to the seafood-loving public. I mean how much sense does it make to fish yourself right out of business? But it’s happening all over the world and unless consumers educate themselves, then we are accomplices in encouraging a situation where we fish all the fish right out of the sea.

Still, it’s not all bad news. The swordfish population is finally in a good place again. There was a period when the swordfish population was collapsing because of overfishing. But after smart efforts to protect the species, including stricter regulation, the fishery has bounced back to sustainable levels. In fact, there are actually more swordfish in our oceans today than there were before the collapse. That’s a success story worth celebrating.

More importantly, it’s a success story worth emulating with other red-listed species. I’m hopeful we’ll see the monkfish, shark, and bluefin tuna populations growing in the next decade. Until then you won’t find them on my plate.

But let me get off my high seahorse and get to the recipe. Well, it’s hardly a recipe. It’s more of a technique for pan frying swordfish. A technique that starts with a brine, moves to the stovetop and finishes in the oven. I hope I make this simple procedure clear in the recipe because I’d like to talk about the pan sauce I’m serving with this swordfish. Mastering a pan sauce quickly and easily is one of those kitchen magic tricks that makes you look like a pro. In fact learning to build a pan sauce could be the highest yielding 25 minutes you’ll ever spend in a kitchen.

Pan Sauce Tips

  1. Use high heat to properly sear whatever you plan to sauce. It creates what pros know as a fond on the bottom of the pan. All you need to know is that these caramelized bits are where the flavor comes from and they’re the essential ingredient for making a quick pan sauce.
  2. Next, remove the seared item and de-glaze the pan (typically with wine) and reduce the liquid. This creates a concentrated, flavorful base for the pan sauce.
  3. At this point lower the heat and add something acidic. Acid builds flavor.
  4. Then turn the burner off to whisk in the cold butter to create an elegant texture.
  5. That’s pan sauce.

PS : One note about the bloodline found in some swordfish steaks. I prefer to cut it away in many cases. It has a strong flavor which doesn’t work well with most delicate preparations. It’s possible to buy swordfish without a bloodline present. However I avoid those cuts, because a bright red bloodline (as opposed to rusty or brownish) is a great indicator of very fresh fish. GREG

Seared Swordfish with Lemon Caper Pan Sauce

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2 Published July 7, 2017


  • 1 (12–15 oz) 3/4‑inch thick swordfish fillet (or 2 smaller fillets)
  • ¼ cup kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 6 cup icy water
  • ground pepper (black, white, Esplette, it’s up to you)
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 9 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • 12 clove peeled garlic (optional)
  • 1–2 sprigs of woody herb (such as thyme or rosemary, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (heaping)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoon capers (rinsed)
  • ½ lemon (juice only)
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • lemon wedges (as garnish)


Brine the swordfish: Brine the fish in a mixture of ¼ cup salt and 6 cups icy water. After about an hour remove the fish from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels, and place it in the refrigerator for at least six hours or up to overnight.

Start on the stovetop: An hour before cooking remove the swordfish fillet from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Just before cooking season the fillet with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter begins to foam, add the seasoned fillet and also the garlic cloves and woody herbs (if using).

Place the swordfish in the skillet and cook until lightly browned about 2–3 minutes. Flip the fish over and remove the skillet from the heat.

Finish in the oven: Place the fish in its skillet in the heated oven and cook 3–4 minutes. Remove skillet from the oven and let it rest 2 minutes and then use an instant-read thermometer to check the interior temperature of the fish. Your goal is 118 degrees F. It probably won’t be there on the first temperature check. In which case return the skillet to the oven for a minute or two and repeat the process until the correct temperature is achieved.

Transfer the cooked swordfish to a warm plate. Remove the herbs, garlic (if using), and most of the fat from the sauté pan.

While the pan is still hot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, and sweat the shallots until softened about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and return the skillet to medium-high heat to reduce by half.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the capers and lemon juice, and cook for 1 minute.

Take the pan off the heat, and add in the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan continuously to emulsify the butter.

How to Grill a Swordfish Steak

Are you in a hurry for the recipe and want to skip all the helpful tips and tricks? No problem. All you need to do is scan down to the bottom of the page.

You will find our recipe for grilled swordfish steak with lemon dill aioli sauce in a convenient, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

However, if you want some indispensable cooking tips, helpful information, and other suggested recipes, then stick around and peruse through the entire post. Who knows? We might answer a question that could come up as you make this fabulous recipe.

Swordfish steak on a hot grill

Swordfish with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Take the swordfish out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.

Set the oven to 400°F.

Pan-roast the swordfish

Follow these pan roasting instructions to cook the swordfish.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly the swordfish steak finishes cooking in the oven. For example, the steak in the photo above was almost 2 inches thick, but it was done after only about 13 minutes in the oven. I usually start checking swordfish after about 10 minutes – the moment it flakes easily with a fork, it’s done.

Make the lemon-garlic sauce

You can make the sauce while the swordfish steaks roast in the oven – so fast and easy to do, and the smell is addictive.

1. Add the butter and olive oil to a small skillet, and melt over low heat.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook over very low heat (you don’t want to burn the garlic!) until the garlic begins to turn light brown. Set aside until the fish is done.

2. Use a spatula to carefully remove the swordfish from the pan and put it on a serving platter.

3. Add the white wine to the cooking pan and stir to deglaze – remember to use oven mitts when touching the hot pan! Pour the wine mixture into the skillet with the garlic, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to reduce the volume. Remove from the heat, and stir in the grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour over the swordfish, and garnish with the parsley.

Serving suggestions

Serve this delicious swordfish with lemon-garlic sauce with linguine or another type of pasta, a green vegetable such as steamed broccoli, and crusty slices of French bread.


Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Sat 9am - 5pm • Sunday Closed

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: seafood
  • Method: grilling
  • Cuisine: Italian


2 pounds fresh swordfish * see Notes below

2 lemons, zest and juice divided

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

4 tablespoons cold butter


If you purchased one large two-pound swordfish steak, cut in half to have two equal pieces about 1 ½ inches thick. Place in a gallon zip lock bag.

In a small bowl mix lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Mix and add only half of this liquid to the bag with the swordfish. Seal the bag and let sit for one hour at room temperature.

While the swordfish sits for the hour, add the lemon juice (about ¼ cup of lemon juice) and parsley to the reserved half of the liquid and set aside to serve with the cooked fish.

Heat outdoor grill to high on one side and cool on the other.

Clean and oil the grill grates.

Remove the swordfish from the bag and brush off any garlic or zest and place the two pieces on the hot side of the oiled grill. Brush some of the liquid from the bag over the fish as it cooks.

Cook two minutes and turn each piece one quarter turn to get cross hatch marks. Cook two more minutes then flip. After two more minutes turn one quarter turn and cook two minutes. (Total of eight minutes so far.)

Take a sheet of foil and fold four times and place on the cool side of the grill. The foil once folded, should be big enough to hold the swordfish.

After the eight minutes of searing both sides, move the swordfish to the foil and close the cover. Try to keep a consistent temperature of 350 degrees F. in your grill.

From here you will cook for 1-6 more minutes based on how thick your steaks are. Our 1 ½ inch swordfish steaks cooked for exactly six more minutes for a grand total of 14 minutes. If your steaks are thinner, this last cook time on the foil will be less. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Do not overcook.

As soon as they come off, place the four tablespoons of cold butter over the top to melt in as you serve.

To serve, cut each piece in half to yield four servings and serve with the sauce made earlier on the side or over each portion.


Buying fresh swordfish is crucial. When I stepped into my local fish market and asked for swordfish, he told me that they just got it in the morning. That’s all I needed to hear. I asked for one 2-pound slice. The piece was clean and white and did not smell of fish, rather had a slightly salt water smell. $15.00 per pound that I paid was totally worth it. You can’t get this type of freshness in a supermarket fish case unless your local market is a trusted source of fresh product. When I got home, I cut it in half to make it easy to grill and after it was cooked, I cut each piece in half to yield four portions. The thickness of the swordfish was 1 ½ inches thick and took exactly 14 minutes.

Keywords: Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio, seafood


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