“Pan-roasted” Swordfish

Sometimes a lot of good things come all at one time.  In this case it was the shad roe and another favorite that I haven’t seen in a while: swordfish. Yes, kind of feast or famine (at least figuratively). My shard roe is happily soaking in the salted water (1 tbsp per quart) overnight to purge blood. (I’d not tried this before since I like the “fishy” taste of herring, mackerel and blue fish, but after reading the post from The Garum Factory, I decided to try this way for this spring!

I’m sure that some of you are cringing, thinking that it’s an endangered fish. It was at one time, but we managed to lay off for a while and the population is coming back.  If in doubt about what you’re wanting to eat, here is the link to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Official Site. The Fisherman’s Market at my local Harris Teeter does support sustainable fishing, and usually gives the source for the fish.True, it’s not been long since I actually had so-called Chilean sea bass (Patagonian toothfish) that I purchased when the Fresh Market opened here in Durham.  Today I just couldn’t pass up that lovely swordfish steak.

swordfish steak in skillet

One of my favorite ways of cooking fish steaks is pan-roasting–sear one side on stove-top, and then pop into the oven for finishing the cooking evenly and gently. When I’ve a really special fish (Patagonian toothfish, tuna, swordfish) I tend to go for minimal seasonings to just enhance the fish.  That usually means butter or maybe extra-virgin olive oil, possibly lemon juice and/or zest, maybe parsley, or sometimes even a touch of garlic or ginger–but lightly.  After all, this is a very special, moderately expensive piece of fish here, so I want to focus on it. A simple pan sauce is all this needs.

browned in skillet

I did brine the swordfish steak (as suggested in Cook’s Illustrated, and then proceeded with the pan-roasting.  There’s really not a recipe for this–I used lemon juice, lemon zest and butter and a little white wine to deglaze the pan.


  • 1-inch thick swordfish
  • vegetable oil/olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 425°F
  • Salt steak
  • Warm appropriately sized skillet on stove-top over medium-high heat and add oil
  • Sear steak on one side–about 3 minutes
  • Turn and place in oven for about 10 minutes
  • Remove steak to warm plate to rest
  • Deglaze the pan with butter, lemon juice (or white wine) and reduce slightly, adding pepper and herbs of your choice
  • Taste for seasoning, and pour it over the steak.

A son goût!

For those of you wondering about swordfish, here is the link to FishWatch.

Xiphias gladius2.jpg

“Xiphias gladius2” by Werner – Histoire naturelle des poissons. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xiphias_gladius2.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Xiphias_gladius2.jpg