Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) is a large saltwater fish found in many parts of the world. It is found in tropical and subtropical waters, and sometimes in temperate waters. It is considered a billfish; other billfish include marlins and sailfish. Swordfish are highly migratory and predatory fish. The females can grow to around 15 feet and can weigh as much as 1,400 pounds. The males only get to around 300 pounds.
The fish are caught by harpoon and by long-line gear. Long-line fishing is an incredibly controversial fishing style because of by-catch. Common by-catch are albatross and sea turtles. Many techniques to limit by-catch have been implemented over the past decade. The Environmental Defense Fund says that eating U.S. caught swordfish is okay. But you definitely do not want to eat imported swordfish. Also, you should limit the amount of swordfish you eat because it contains elevated levels of mercury.
1. Pick up some American caught swordfish steaks. As I said before, imported swordfish is hugely unregulated and many problems exist with the way in which they catch fish, so stick to American caught. These particular steaks, as you can see, are center cut—note the concentric circles. Swordfish is a tougher meat than other fish, so it is perfect for the grill or the broiler. It even makes good kabobs.
2. Season the swordfish steaks with salt, pepper, and garlic. I also drizzle some olive oil on them and rub all the flavors into the meat. The olive oil will help to promote caramelization of the meat. Swordfish meat takes on marinades very well, but I would recommend trying it without first, so you know what flavor profile you are working with. Swordfish smells a little fishy, but it doesn't taste like it. It tastes mellow, creamy, and a little fatty.
3. Broil the swordfish steaks on high on a broiling pan. Let the broiler heat up for about 10 minutes before you stick the steaks under it. Also, position the oven rack two rungs down from the top. You need a little space for the heat to spread and even out. If you broiled on the top rung, you would end up with unevenly cooked steaks. This first side will caramelize in a few minutes. Keep your eye on the steaks as they cook.
4. Broil the second side of the swordfish steaks. Once the first side of the swordfish steaks are nicely browned, flip them over using an oven-safe plastic spatula. Then use a digital thermometer with a detachable probe to monitor the swordfish steaks as you broil the second side. Once the steaks have reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees F, they are safe to eat. For an extra special finish, broil the second side with a little butter on top. Serve with a salad so you don't die of heart failure.
Don't bother removing the skin. It will come off easily once the swordfish steaks are cooked.
Cook raw fish within a couple days of purchasing to ensure quality.
Store raw fish in the fridge on a plate or tray to prevent dripping and cross-contamination.
Don't buy imported swordfish, even if it's cheaper. Buying that stuff will just promote unsafe and inhumane fishing practices.
Only eat swordfish once in a while because it contains elevated levels of mercury. If you are a woman of child-bearing age or a child, don't eat it at all.
If you do decide to marinate the swordfish, use a mild marinade composed of only one or two strong flavors.