This quick grilled swordfish recipe takes on a delicious Mediterranean twist thanks to a simple olive oil marinade with fresh garlic and a trio of warm spices.
It takes 15 minutes to marinate the fish and about 8 minutes to grill it to juicy perfection. Serve it with a big salad or a simple side and call it dinner!
Swordfish is a mild-tasting white fish with a meaty and firm texture. It's found in Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean waters.
This meaty fish is protein-rich and a great source of B12, zinc, and Omega 3.
You'll find it sold in white steaks, typically about 1 inch in thickness. When buying swordfish, make sure that the reddish areas on the fish steak are actually red and not brown (if they're brown, the fish is old).
How to cook swordfish?
Swordfish is quite meaty and firm which makes it great for fish stew, pan-searing, or grilling as a whole steak or even skewering for fish kabobs!
This wonderful fish will hold up to the grill where other delicate fish might fall apart. And because of it's texture and mild taste, it's perfect with the addition of flavorful marinades or sauces.
I'm using a gas grill for this recipe but you can use a charcoal grill or even an indoor griddle. Whichever method you choose to cook your swordfish, the key is not to overcook it.
For grilled swordfish, some say, treat swordfish as you would cook a rare steak, using high heat to sear on one side for about 5 to 6 minutes, then turning the fish over to cook for another 3 minutes or so for a 1-inch steak. (This may vary slightly).
How do you know if swordfish is done?
Feeling the swordfish steak on the outside doesn't help you determine for sure if it's ready. This is because it's a firm fish and will feel just as hard at medium as it would at medium-well.
For a juicy grilled swordfish steak, the fish would be well-browned on one side (that's the side you present when serving) and slightly light pink on the inside, but don't worry, it will cook through by the time it gets to the table. And it should flake easily with the touch of a fork while retaining firmness.
The marinade. How long should you marinate swordfish?
To give my grilled swordfish recipe a Mediterranean twist, I'm employing a bold olive oil-based swordfish marinade with some of my favorite flavors!
What's in the swordfish marinade?
- Garlic: anywhere from 6 to 12 garlic cloves. (I typically go heavier on fresh garlic than most people, opting for 12 garlic cloves. But because we're adding a bit of lemon juice, the garlic is tamed a bit).
- Extra virgin olive oil: a good ⅓ cup of quality extra virgin olive oil (you can find the Greek olive oils I use at our online shop here).
- Lemon juice: about 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- Spices: a trio of warm ground spices- 1 teaspoon coriander, ¾ teaspoon cumin, and ½ to 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika. A dash of kosher salt and black pepper in addition
Now, how long to marinate this fish? In this recipe, you don't need to marinate the fish for too long. 15 minutes or so at room temperature while the grill is heating should do it.
In general, you can marinate swordfish for longer if the acid content is small, in which case you can cover and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
Grilled swordfish recipe: step-by-step
Time needed: 23 minutes.
How to make this grilled swordfish recipe (print-friendly recipe below)
- Make the marinade
In the small bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, add the garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper. Run the processor for a few minutes until you arrive at a smooth marinade.
- Marinate the fish
Pat the swordfish steaks dry and place in a glass dish. Pour the marinade over and be sure to cover the fish with it on both sides. Set aside to marinate while you heat the grill (about 15 minutes or so)
- Grill on high heat
When ready, grill the fish steaks on high heat for 5 minutes on one side, then turn over once and grill on the other side for 3 minutes or so (you can do this on gas grill or an indoor griddle).
The fish should flake easily, while maintain firmness. You will likely see a bit of pink on the inside, but by the time it gets to the table, it will have cooked through)
Off the grill, I like to hit the fish up quickly with a splash of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with fresh parsley and red pepper flakes, if you like heat, and serve!
What to Serve along with this Grilled Swordfish?
For a light meal, I like to serve grilled swordfish with a bright and substantial salad like Greek salad, bean salad, or Mediterranean potato salad.
Sides like couscous, skordalia, or Greek green beans will also go well with swordfish. And a little drizzle of Tahini sauce never hurts!
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Grilled Swordfish Recipe with a Mediterranean Twist
- Total Time: 23 minutes
- Yield: serves 4
- Diet: Low Calorie
Easy grilled swordfish recipe that utilizes a delicious Mediterranean marinade with cumin, fresh garlic cloves and more. But you don't even need to leave it in the marinade too long! Just a few minutes while your grill is heating!
- 6 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, more for later
- 1 tsp coriander
- ¾ tsp cumin
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 swordfish steaks, about 5 to 6 ounces each, from sustainable sources
- Crushed red pepper, optional
- In a food processor, blend the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, spices, salt and pepper for about three minutes or until well-combined forming a thick and smooth marinade.
- Pat the swordfish steaks dry and place them in a pan (or a dish with sides to it) and apply the marinade generously on both sides and set aside for 15 minutes or so while you heat the grill.
- Preheat a gas grill on high (be sure to oil the grates before using). When ready, grill the fish steaks on high heat for 5 to 6 minutes on one side, turn over once and grill on the other side for 3 minutes or so (the fish should flake easily, while maintain firmness. You will likely see a bit of pink on the inside, but it should cook through by the time it gets to the table).
- Finish with a splash of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes if you like heat. Enjoy!
- Cook's tip: Prepare any sides or salads before you get to the fish; it goes fast
- Cook's tip: You may need to adjust the grilling time depending on the thickness of the swordfish steaks. Fish is ready when it easily flakes at the touch of a fork.
- Visit our online shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oil and all-natural and organic spices used in this recipe.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 8 mins
- Category: Fish and Seafood
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Grilled Swordfish Recipe, Swordfish, How to Cook Swordfish
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!
Wonderfully delicious! Thank you.
Instant family favorite. Delicious flavor, restaurant quality! I loved how the marinade became thick in the food processor, allowing it to coat the fish steaks. Next time I might reserve some to use as a sauce it was so good.
Just ran across this grilled swordfish recipe. It was easy,yes, but the taste was absolutely restaurant- worthy. The marinade was magical. I’m not a griller so o appreciated the detailed grilling instructions.
Thanks so much, Joann!
This was excellent! Followed the recipe pretty closely, but used my old Weber charcoal grill. Worked perfectly— succulent, flavorful, delicious. Thanks!
Awesome! Thanks, Kyle!
I just read your comment and also pan seared the swordfish. Sooo good! It was raining and I didn't want to grill outside. This was perfect. Thanks for your comment!!
OMG - this is fantastic - I'm in love with you 🙂
Yay! Glad it was a success!
It's on the grill now and I know it's fabulous without even tasting it. Thank You Keith
Hope you enjoyed it, Keith!
I was VERY disappointed with this recipe, and I usually love sword fish. I followed the instructions exactly. I really did not like the flavor. And it was too dry, not because I overcooked it, as the center was moist and it flaked easily with a fork, but because there was not enough olive oil or butter. I was only able to eat it by putting a lot of butter and salt on it.
I love swordfish, but I've never tried to tackle any fish on a grill. For a gas grill, what temperature do you consider to be high? 300, higher? lower?
Hi, Glenn. Most say that high heat is around 450 degrees F or so. But remember, all grills very a bit. You may have to play around with the temps a tad on your own grill.
First time I made swordfish and I cook a lot of fish. Followed recipe, marinated for half hour in a zip lock. Cooked in cast iron with a little extra olive oil on glass top stove medium to high heat. Five minutes on one side, three on other. Not quite to 135 degrees.
Let it rest in pan off heat for about five more minutes. PERFECT. Love the taste. Texture was perfect. I love to cook and this is a keeper. No longer afraid of swordfish. Thank you for a great recipe.
Yay! So glad this recipe was a success for you!
We made this tonight and it was delicious! Didn't have coriander so just omitted it.
Made this tonight on the grill (charcoal) and it was terrific! My food processor broke a few weeks ago and I haven't replaced it yet so I used a garlic press and then wished the other ingredients in marinade, and it worked out fine. The swordfish we had was about 1 1/2 inches thick so it took closer to six minutes on first side and four on the second, but it came out perfectly cooked.