Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio has a flavorful, buttery lemon herb sauce on top of juicy grilled swordfish. Plus tips & tricks to make perfectly cooked swordfish.
Hello everyone. This is Jack. Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio is hands-down, one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare swordfish. I think you’ll love it too!
What is Salmoriglio?
Salmoriglio is a traditional condiment from the Calabria and Sicily regions of Southern Italy. The name is derived from the word salamoia, which means salty or briny.
Buying and cooking with fresh swordfish (or any seafood for that matter) freshness is absolutely crucial for the best results when making this Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio. We are lucky enough to live near an incredible fish market on the Cape Cod Canal. When I called to inquire about the availability of swordfish that morning, the fishmonger told me that they just got in a fresh catch that morning. (That’s all I needed to hear, and I made a beeline to the market.)
When buying swordfish, it should appear clean and white with a slight salt water smell. It should NOT smell fishy. Depending on the cut, you may see a dark red or brownish streak in the flesh – this is muscle meat and totally safe to eat, although it does have a stronger flavor than the white meat in a swordfish steak and many people chose to avoid eating it.
How should Swordfish be cooked?
Cooking swordfish – on the grill, broiled, or in a skillet – is just like cooking a steak to a medium rare level of doneness. Whatever your cooking method, you’ll want to sear both sides of your swordfish steak over medium-high heat, but leave the inside of your swordfish slightly medium rare.
All too often, home cooks (and even restaurants) overcook their swordfish, leaving it dry and flavorless. To avoid overcooking, use an instant-read food thermometer and cook to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but not much higher than that.
In our photos today, you’ll see that we chose to cook a thicker-cut swordfish steak ,which we find easier to cook to the perfect medium rare temperature than a thinner swordfish steak. Ours was a two-pound slice, about 1 ½ inches thick, that we cut in half to make it easier to grill. After it was cooked, we cut each piece in half to yield four portions.
Our 1 ½-inch thick swordfish steaks took exactly 14 minutes. (But use that thermometer to ensure your perfectly cooked swordfish steaks!)
How do you make Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio?
In our recipe today, we marinated our swordfish for one hour in half of the Salmoriglio mixture—saving the other half to use as a sauce.
One thing to note: For the marinade portion, you’ll only want to use lemon zest in the mixture. If you add lemon juice to the mixture, it will actually start to ‘cook’ the swordfish as it marinates, similar to how you make ceviche. You will add fresh lemon juice to the other half of the Salmoriglio used as a sauce.
Then we simply grilled our swordfish. Once cooked, we served it with a pat of butter and Salmoriglio spooned over the top. The bright, lemony flavor of the sauce with garlic, oregano, and parsley was the perfect pairing for the fresh grilled swordfish.
You’re going to love this easy, restaurant-quality meal!
What do I serve with Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio?
- A tossed greens salad with Favorite Vinaigrette
- Perfect Asparagus (you can even spoon some of the Salmoriglio over the top of the veggies)
- Mario Batali’s Green Beans (Fagiolini in Padella)
- Mashed Cauliflower and Spinach
You may enjoy these other Seafood recipes:
- Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce
- New England Lobster Roll
- Shrimp Scampi
- Linguine with White Clam Sauce
- Portuguese-Style Mussels in Garlic Cream Sauce
2 pounds fresh swordfish * see Notes below
2 lemons, zest and juice divided
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
4 tablespoons cold butter
If you purchased one large two-pound swordfish steak, cut in half to have two equal pieces about 1 ½ inches thick. Place in a gallon zip lock bag.
In a small bowl mix lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
Mix and add only half of this liquid to the bag with the swordfish. Seal the bag and let sit for one hour at room temperature.
While the swordfish sits for the hour, add the lemon juice (about ¼ cup of lemon juice) and parsley to the reserved half of the liquid and set aside to serve with the cooked fish.
Heat outdoor grill to high on one side and cool on the other.
Clean and oil the grill grates.
Remove the swordfish from the bag and brush off any garlic or zest and place the two pieces on the hot side of the oiled grill. Brush some of the liquid from the bag over the fish as it cooks.
Cook two minutes and turn each piece one quarter turn to get cross hatch marks. Cook two more minutes then flip. After two more minutes turn one quarter turn and cook two minutes. (Total of eight minutes so far.)
Take a sheet of foil and fold four times and place on the cool side of the grill. The foil once folded, should be big enough to hold the swordfish.
After the eight minutes of searing both sides, move the swordfish to the foil and close the cover. Try to keep a consistent temperature of 350 degrees F. in your grill.
From here you will cook for 1-6 more minutes based on how thick your steaks are. Our 1 ½ inch swordfish steaks cooked for exactly six more minutes for a grand total of 14 minutes. If your steaks are thinner, this last cook time on the foil will be less. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Do not overcook.
As soon as they come off, place the four tablespoons of cold butter over the top to melt in as you serve.
To serve, cut each piece in half to yield four servings and serve with the sauce made earlier on the side or over each portion.
Buying fresh swordfish is crucial. When I stepped into my local fish market and asked for swordfish, he told me that they just got it in the morning. That’s all I needed to hear. I asked for one 2-pound slice. The piece was clean and white and did not smell of fish, rather had a slightly salt water smell. $15.00 per pound that I paid was totally worth it. You can’t get this type of freshness in a supermarket fish case unless your local market is a trusted source of fresh product. When I got home, I cut it in half to make it easy to grill and after it was cooked, I cut each piece in half to yield four portions. The thickness of the swordfish was 1 ½ inches thick and took exactly 14 minutes.
Keywords: Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio, seafood