What Does Swordfish Taste Like?

Rare seafood ultimate guide

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Rare seafood ultimate guide

When we think about seafood, what does usually come to mind? Cod, salmon, shrimps…and other more or less common meaty foods from the ocean.

But quite often, when I eat out, for instance, I face the difficulty of deciding whether to order a particular dish or not just because I have no idea of its taste!

So today I decided to enlighten you and tell you more about such sort of seafood as swordfish. Its texture, flavor, taste, and what to pair it with – you will learn all this below.

What Is This Creature?

Probably, everyone has seen the image of swordfish at least once in their life: an elegant fish with an elongated round body and that significant long, flat, and pointed sword-like snout that gave the creature its name.

This ocean dweller can be rather large reaching the length of a maximum four and a half meters with its weight sometimes getting to 650 kilos!

This massive fish can be found in most of the oceans including the Indian, Atlantic, and the Pacific.

Its meat is very nutritious and appears to be the perfect source of protein for people. Some even say that swordfish can be a proper substitution for a steak!

What Is This Creature
Jcomp via VistaCreate

What About the Taste?

Those who have never tried this fish before often wonder what its taste is like. Well, from my own experience, I can tell you that, unlike most kinds of fish, this one doesn’t have that specific fishy sea-like scent and savor when cooked.

Instead, the meat of swordfish has a mild and slightly sweet taste (reminds me of squid a bit), and its pinkish flesh turns beige after being cooked.

Top 3 Best | Worst Fish to Eat: Health Hacks- Thomas DeLauerTop 3 Best | Worst Fish to Eat: Health Hacks- Thomas DeLauer

The one significant feature is that its meat remains moist even after cooking which makes it stand closer to the traditional meat steak in terms of texture.

Flavor strength Mild
“Fishness” Mild
Oiliness High
Texture Dense

Another feature of this fish I’d like to emphasize is that swordfish is somewhat oily: its fillet has about 30% oil which is higher than the same part of the white fish, for instance. So if you enjoy meaty seafood, swordfish is your choice since it doesn’t fall apart as salmon does after being prepared.

But if you are more into the lighter versions, then it won’t probably satisfy your taste.

What About the Taste
aallm via VistaCreate

Is It Good For Wellbeing?

I often hear people wondering whether swordfish is good to eat regularly. This question is especially crucial for those who take care of their health.

What can I say?

According to the official data, any fish has to be consumed at least twice a week, and swordfish can be a good option, too.

  • it is an excellent source of selenium that protects our hearts and fights cancer
  • Its meat is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids
  • this fish is full of zinc and vitamin B12
  • finally, it is a low-fat and low-calorie meat!
What About the Taste
Photo by catrina farrell

So yes, choose swordfish if you’re looking for seafood that will fit your dietary eating.

How to Eat It?

The question may seem weird to some of you, right? You might ask me: hey, Elisa, what can be so complicated about enjoying a piece of fish?

Well, guys, when it comes to swordfish, it will require some skills to cook and serve it so that the meat will reveal its best taste!

Pete the Chef's Pan-Fried SwordfishPete the Chef’s Pan-Fried Swordfish

The good thing about this seafood is that it tastes fantastic on its own. You basically need no garnish or side dishes. Just coat it with some olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper – and your dinner is ready. But if you wish to add more taste, then I would recommend you use the following seasonings:

  • basil
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • cilantro
  • paprika
  • chili

And if you can’t imagine your meal without a fish steak and a side dish, I’d recommend you pairing a juicy swordfish steak with any grilled veggies, coleslaw, fresh salad, potatoes, or even pasta.

How to Eat It
RoneDya via VistaCreate

How to Prepare It?

The best thing about cooking swordfish, in my humble opinion, is that it allows you to use various methods of cooking. Since swordfish has a very dense texture, it can be easily grilled, for example (although I never tried grilling it myself).

So, if you don’t feel confident enough about grilling it, try frying, broiling, or baking it. Each option will work great! Very few preparations will be needed: just pat the steak with paper to remove the moisture, remove the skin, and marinate if you wish.

To fry it, toss the steak onto a hot, oiled slightly pan for five minutes and turn it over to let the other side to fry for 2-3 minutes more. Remember that swordfish fillet has to be the same as a beefsteak – still pink in the middle!

I would also recommend you try other cooking options like a seafood casserole or soup, a chowder, or the oven-baked fillet – swordfish will taste fantastic in any case!

How to Prepare It
photo by Nick Bondarev: Pexels

Swordfish Cooking Suggestions

Do you want to know why I love swordfish so much? That’s because this seafood is rather versatile when it comes to preparing it. Grilling, broiling, baking, and frying – any method will reveal its taste and let you enjoy that dense, meaty texture.

But be careful! Overcooking is strictly forbidden since the meat will get too dry. I made this mistake once (at the very start of my swordfish-cooking “career”) and believe me, you don’t want to taste that!

Luckily, now I’m more experienced and I can share a few tips with you on how to make this fish taste even better. E.g., you can try to add something new to the existing recipes.

  • mango chutney and ginger will pair baked steak perfectly
  • for grilling, try to marinate the steak in white wine and drizzle with some fresh lemon juice right before serving
  • oven-baked swordfish goes perfectly with olives, capers, and sweet peppers – all stewed together with a pinch of chili
  • why not cook some stuffed swordfish? Marinate the steak in a blend of white wine, soy sauce, and mustard, and then stuff with crushed tomatoes with arugula. 
  • make an Italian-style dish by frying cubed swordfish with beans, sweet peppers, onion, and corn. 
Swordfish Cooking Suggestions
RoneDya via VistaCreate

Does swordfish taste like a shark?

Swordfish, with its meaty texture, has the same texture as the shark has. But it has sweat-flavored moist meat without any fishy smell.

It goes excellent while grilling or just in ordinary steaks. It is not so tough as tuna and has more moist meat.

How to Choose It Properly

Buying fresh food is a must if we want to both make a delicious meal and eat safely.

With the swordfish, pay attention to the following signs that will prove the steak is fresh:

  • the veins must be red. Any darker color shows that the meat is old
  • the flesh must be ivory, close to translucent. The old or frozen steak will have an opaque color
  • Red spots indicate that the fish was stressed when captured. Avoid such meat since its texture won’t please you

Swordfish is known for its mild and somewhat sweet taste and dense, oily flesh. It is perfect for traditional cooking (e.g., frying or baking) and grilling and pairs well with various side dishes. Choose the steak carefully and enjoy this seafood to its full!

I hope my experience with this delicious fish will help you enjoy its taste and who knows, maybe you will become as devoted a seafood lover as I am now!

How to Choose It Properly
Photo by Olga Frolova

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is Swordfish safe to eat?

Yes, it is, if you buy a fresh fish that has been recently caught.

⭐ What is the most unhealthy fish to eat?

Among the most unhealthy sorts of fish, you can find bluefin tuna, Patagonian Toothfish, monkfish, grouper, farmed salmon, and some others.

⭐ How many times a week can you eat swordfish?

Twice a week is perfect to get all the necessary nutrients.

⭐ Do swordfish have worms?

Sea worms can be found in any fish; however, if you buy fish from the trustworthy sellers, the chance of finding a worm in it is extremely low.

⭐ Is swordfish really fishy tasting?

This kind of seafood has a somewhat sweet and mild taste with very little of the traditional fishy savor.

⭐ Is swordfish steak expensive?

Yes, this fish is rather expensive. The average price is about 30 dollars per 1 lb.

⭐ Why is swordfish high in mercury?

The older and bigger the fish is the more mercury it accumulates. Since swordfish is one of the biggest we consume, it contains a lot of this element.

⭐ Is Swordfish high in mercury?

Yes, this fish along with king mackerel, shark, and marlin contain a lot of mercury.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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Facts: The SwordfishFacts: The Swordfish