Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 15, 2006 12:01 PM

Swordfish Steak- How do I cook?

  • n

hello all...

i dont need anything fancy- bake or broil? how long? do i flip it half way through? i have one piece of swordfish steak about 1 & 1/2 inches thick. its been marinating in teriyaki and ginger.

nothing annoys me more than paying $11.41 for one piece of fish at the store today and then asking the lady at the seafood dept. how to prepare it and she doesnt know. lame!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Supermarket wages don't buy culinary experts, which is why some of us go to Whole Foods or Bristol Farms when we can afford it. But I digress...

    The rule for cooking seafood by any method is roughly ten minutes for each inch of thickness. Since yours has been marinating, I'd figure on cutting that time a bit. I would most likely preheat the oven to 400ยบ, then get an iron skillet good and hot. Brush in a film of oil and lay the fish (at room temperature!) on that, and cook for five minutes, then set the skillet into the oven for another five. You want the flesh to be JUST opaque, because it will continue to cook as long as it's hot. Alternatively, you can simply put it into a pan and set that in the preheated oven for ten minutes, or under the broiler - and if you've preheated the broiler pan, no need to flip it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Supermarket wages don't buy culinary experts, which is why some of us go to Whole Foods or Bristol Farms when we can afford it. But I digress...

      thats a pretty stupid comment. "us" don't shop at whole paycheck or bristol farms for seafood-high prices does not mean its any better than "x" or that the staff has a clue.

      1. re: dkd

        In my experience, it IS different. A Bristol Farms guy went and dug out some lamb necks for me when they were out of shanks, and cut and trimmed them perfectly and sold'em to me for about what I'd have paid for shanks at Vons, because he was a qualified butcher instead of someone who'd been transferred from the deli 'cause they were shorthanded. And I have found consistently that the Whole Foods guys know their fish, as opposed to the Ralphs and Vons guys who just know what it costs.

        Even if someone is willing to learn at the supermarkets, the combination of pressure to sell and poor wage incentives tend to reward the folks who just Do Their Job and aspire no higher. And it's a damned shame.

    2. Easy way: Rub a cast iron skillet with a bit of oil- and get really hot. Add the fish, and sear on both sides. Do not turn the fish for the first few minutes- it will stick until it gets a nice sear. Put into a 450 oven until cooked to your liking.
      You can also bake it- again- a hot oven, and don't overcook. Probably does not need more than 20 minutes in a hot oven
      And- I would find another fish monger. They certainly should know hoe to cook fish. My fish guy can tell me exactly what to do- and usually has more than one way to cook it. And sometimes has suggested ways to prepare and cook that I have not thought of.

      6 Replies
      1. re: macca
        A Fish Called Wanda

        I agree on finding a good fishmonger. They should at least tell you what cooking methods work for each fish (grilling, broiling, poaching, etc). I think the fish markets where I get fish are fantastic, but when I hear them telling customers how long to cook fish, I think they are overly concervative and want to make sure it's very done.

        There is no way a 1 inch swordfish steak can cook longer than 10 minutes at 425F or higher. Yet, I hear 18-20 minutes mentioned a lot among both fishmongers and cooks.


        1. re: A Fish Called Wanda

          I have only grilled swordfish, so I probably should not have said anything. But I was using the recommendations of two fish ongers. I am lucky enough to have two great options near me for buying fish. And both are very helpful.
          As an aside- I have also heard that swordfish can be rubbed with mayo before cooking to keep it moist.And I have heard that it will no affect the taste of the fish. Is this true? And why would this be better than oil?

          1. re: macca
            A Fish Called Wanda

            Yes, you can rub sworfish with mayo before cooking. It has the same tenderizing effect as oil does, but it has a slightly different flavor. Mayo let's it brown very nicely (if cooked under a broiler) and swordfish comes out covered in a thin layer of creaminess. I particularly like this method with kebabs. Adding some mashed garlic and minced herbs to mayo makes it even better.

            But oil produces a cleaner more pure taste, which is more appropriate for mediterranean dishes.


            1. re: A Fish Called Wanda

              Thanks- I always wondered about that. I love the garlic/herb idea. Sounds like swordfish kabobs may be a good idea for a dinner this weekend.:}

              1. re: macca

                My aunt makes broiled salmon steaks with mayo on top, very rich but it has a certain nostalgic factor for me.

          2. re: A Fish Called Wanda

            People way overcook swordfish. A typical one-inch steak should only take ten minutes in the oven, and only 2 or 3 minutes per side on a hot grill.
            Swordfish is so flavorful, that I often just salt and pepper, spritz with lemon, sprinkly with some dried rosemary and grill...if it's just for a quick weeknight dinner.

        2. a
          A Fish Called Wanda

          For swordfish, I prefer to add a good bit of oil to the marinade. This helps swordfish stay juicy and tender. In my opinion it just doesn't have enough fat for its density, so some oil in the marinade helps. It doesn't have to sit long - 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how much time you have.

          Don't bake. Baked swordfish won't get any caramelization and will be boring. It's like baking a pork chop.

          If you have a gas broiler, that's the easiest way to go (electric don't really brown anything).

          Dry off most of the marinade with paper towels before cooking. You can bring it to a boil separately and serve it as a sauce.

          Although I don't flip fillets under the broiler, I do flip steaks to get them to cook evenly and caramelize on both sides. Give it 4 minutes on each side and it should be done. Don't wait for it to flake. Swordfish is too dense and won't flake no matter how long you cook it. Make a small incision with a knife to test for doneness. Remove from heat when the center is still translucent. As Will Owen mentioned it will continue to cook after it's off the heat.

          Alternatively, you could also sear it in a little oil or butter in a hot skillet just until browned (about 2 minutes per side) and then finish in 400F oven. The total cooking time should be about 8 minutes per inch of thickness.

          Good luck with that swordfish :)


          1. b
            bob oppedisano

            Since you're already marinating, go ahead and use the advice of the other posters--they're all just right. However, a very good, basic Sicilian recipe (and they know tuna), involves a simple pan sear (I use a heavy nonstick skillet, lightly coated with olive oil the steak salted, peppered, and also lightly rubbed with oil), a flip and char, and then rest in a very easy, uncooked sauce of good olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper. Let the cooked fish sit a minute to mingle. More lemon at table--the attached link has more (in English on a delicious site).


            1. Hi, Nicole! Great thread; I appreciate it. I just got done cooking my very first swordfish steak in the oven. I had an idea of what I wanted, and I trust my instincts with food, but after I got done prepping it, I realized I had no idea what temp to set the oven! So, Here we are...
              I am happy to say, due to the plethora of advise here, that my meal is delicious! Here is my recipe:
              One swordfish steak
              1 lemon
              thyme and rosemary picked fresh from the garden
              lemon pepper
              1 chopped garlic clove
              country crock (sorry, I didn't have any butter!)
              1 pkg of cheddar broccoli rice mix (I know, I am shameful...)

              I rubbed the steak with thyme, rosemary, garlic, and lemon pepper. It expressed it's joy and relief. Then I plunked down a blob of margarine on a toaster-over sheet lined with tin-foil (I don't have a broiler pan, can you imagine...where do they go??) and set the steak on top. I sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and doused the whole thing with a liberal squirt of lemon.
              I started the rice and pre-heated the broiler.
              I set the the rack 2-3 inches from the element as directed, and watched the clock for two minutes. I flipped and watched the clock another two minutes. Just then I read that the steak should be opaque, that it cooks after I take it out! I ran and got it out of the oven and set it aside just in the nick of time. The rice was done, the swordfish was done, and now I am done with the best dang meal I have ever cooked for myself! By the way, I poured the juices from the cooking sheet over my swordfish, yummy! The whole thing took less then 15 minutes, crazy but true!
              Thanks y'all!