Swordfish is a wonderful fish for barbequing, although it is also nice to pan-fry or roast. The following recipe makes use of the barbeque to not only cook the fish perfectly but also to infuse it with a smoky flavor in addition to the flavor the marinade gives it. You will need a pair of swordfish steaks to make this. Try to get thin ones because they will soak up more of the marinade that way and have a shorter cooking time. Swordfish steaks are not the most economical type of fish but if you want something special and healthy (swordfish is low in fat) it is a wonderful choice, and you can buy it fresh or frozen. The frozen type needs to be thawed in the refrigerator overnight and then any excess water soaked up using paper towels.

A Highly Tasty Swordfish Marinade

The marinade is made with shallots, cilantro, garlic, lemon, orange, and chili pepper, so you can imagine how much amazing flavor that gives the fish. If you want a milder result, swap the chili for a pinch of smoked paprika. You can also use the juice of 2 lemons instead of the juice from 1 lemon and 1 orange. These little tweaks will change the flavor slightly but it will still taste great. Because this is just to add an aromatic flavor, you can usually tweak marinades without affecting or changing the taste much. Omit the garlic, swap the shallots for red onion, or switch the cilantro for basil if you wish, and any of that will work.

Is Swordfish Endangered?

This type of fish is not only widely available and tasty, but it is also not an endangered fish like cod or tuna, another reason to choose it for barbequing. The stocks of this fish were down in the 1980s and 1990s but these days there are plenty of them in the North Atlantic again. Pacific swordfish have always been plentiful. The situation with imported swordfish is not so clear though, so buy American if you can.

This type of fish offers a rich, meaty taste, and it is not too delicate, so you don’t have to worry about it falling to pieces and through the grate. Raw swordfish is white with a strip of darker flesh through it. This flesh should be red not brown, because brown means less freshness. Pacific swordfish is not as rosy as the East Coast type, but this is just because of what they eat. If you buy extra and you want to freeze some, tightly wrap it and freeze it for up to 4 months. If you freeze it for longer than that, the quality will decline.

When preparing the barbeque for cooking this recipe, try to get it as hot as you can. Swordfish does better cooking over a high heat for a few minutes than a lower heat for longer. It will take between 5 and 8 minutes to cook through. Try not to overcook it though, because it will dry out if you do. Once the fish can be flaked it is done. You will see it change color on the barbeque. Just flip it once, after it has had a couple of minutes cooking time. There is no need to keep flipping it. This recipe serves 2 but it is very simple to double it if you are feeding more than that.

Garlic Lemon Marinated BBQ Swordfish
Summary: Tasty, meaty swordfish steaks are marinated in a piquant mixture of citrus, shallots, garlic, chili, and cilantro. They can then be cooked to perfection on a hot barbeque.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Seafood
Serves: 2
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 swordfish steaks
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, as needed
For the Marinade:
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 2 minced shallots
  • Handful of finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • ¼ minced red chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the oil, shallots, cilantro, garlic, lemon and orange juices, chili, and salt to make the marinade.
  2. Put the fish in a Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour, or a maximum of 2 hours.
  4. Get the barbeque as hot as you can.
  5. Take the fish out of the marinade and add salt and black pepper.
  6. Cook the swordfish for 3 minutes, then flip it over.
  7. Cook the second side for 3 minutes or until it is done to your liking.
  8. Let it rest for 2 minutes then serve.

Photo Description:

Marinated swordfish on the barbeque offers the perfect texture and flavor. This recipe features swordfish steaks and the homemade marinade is very simple to put together. Featuring citrus, garlic, shallots, hot pepper, and cilantro, this marinade infuses your fish with so much flavor without overpowering the natural unique swordfish taste. In the photo you can see some of the color from the cilantro and red chili pepper on the swordfish and you can also see a presentation possibility. The fish is served on a bed of orange slices, potatoes, and some rosemary or spinach too, to add color. Another idea is to serve it with a simple potato salad on the side, and maybe some fresh cherry tomatoes.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

My name is Christine and I am delighted to welcome you here. Easy Barbeque Recipes aims to demystify the world of barbequing and turn anyone into a brilliant backyard chef regardless of culinary knowledge or past cooking experience. Cooking with fire is not only an easy cooking method but it is the original cooking method. An open fire was used to cook before there were such things as ovens, microwaves or crockpots. Barbequing is not just a cooking method either. It is a social event. Inviting friends over and grilling food for them is always fun and adding home-cooked food to any party is a surefire way to please a crowd. Nothing beats the incredible flavor of flame-grilled food, and you can barbeque all kinds of ingredients and recipes, including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, veggies, and even pizza.


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