Simple Grilled Swordfish: Simply Perfect

Grilled swordfish
Grilled swordfish with a lemon, garlic, basil dressing. Served with arugula and caprese.

I was out of town one day this past October when I decided to try another fish market. Ipswich Shellfish is a well-known seafood wholesaler in my area, but I didn’t realize that they had a fish market as well. When I got there I can see why it is highly rated in Google Reviews. The small but bright and spotless market had an array of excellent looking fish. Local cod, haddock and even halibut to go along with organic Scottish salmon, wild king salmon, and tuna. I went for the swordfish, still caught off the coast this time of year. Although the steaks were individually cut, and a little small for my tastes, they looked really good.

I love swordfish and I’ve had many good cuts over the years, most of them local fish. But I always go back to my first trip to Sicily as a lesson in simple, yet perfect swordfish. Halfway through my drinking tour of Europe we ended up in Taormina, Sicily and on a beautiful night overlooking the cliffs, my travel partner and I had swordfish grilled with nothing more than olive oil and salt. After a squeeze of the juiciest lemons in the world, we dined on seafood perfection.

raw swordfish steaks
East coast swordfish often have a pink hue to their meat.

Sometimes I overdo it with the sauces or toppings, but tonight I wanted something simple and quick. Too lazy to climb the stairs to the grill, I broke out the old grill pan and took the two steaks from the fridge for some seasoning and olive oil.


Once the pan is hot and oiled I grilled the steaks for 4 minutes on each side. Some will prefer to cook a minute or two less, but I like my swordfish cooked well. After resting for a minute I trimmed the skin off my wife’s steak as well as a little of the dark meat from the bloodline. I love the fat layer just under the skin so I kept mine on and the dark meat ended up not being strong flavored at all.

Grilling swordfish

It came out exactly how I wanted: light, simple and tasty. The fresh swordfish needed very little, but the lemon garlic and basil dressing made a flavorful complement.

The swordfish was delicious on its own so I used very little of the dressing, I ended up using much more on the side of arugula and caprese salad.

More importantly, my wife loved it and suggested I cook it like that every time. She might be right, simple was better. Making the caprese salad and the dressing were the most time-consuming parts of dinner prep.

So not only did I nail dinner with minimal effort but I discovered another good local option for fresh fish. Thanks Ipswich Shellfish…I will be back!



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