Grilled Swordfish with Lemon and Caper Sauce

July 12, 2010
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

I’m so glad swordfish is back and sustainable. I’ve loved grilling it since a long-ago event at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium where the chef simply sprinkled the fish with freshly ground white pepper and squirted fresh lime juice over. Whole Foods had harpoon-caught swordfish on special last weekend, so we had this for dinner last night. Easy-peasy! —ChefJune

Test Kitchen Notes

"The lemon-caper sauce was fresh and clean, and contrasted nicely with the smoky meatiness of the swordfish. This is a quick and easy recipe that’s great for summer eating." –frozenfoodie

"I don’t often buy swordfish, and when I do, I tend to simply grill it with some salt and pepper and add a dash of lemon. Once in a while I get fancy with some Italian-style preparation, like Sicilian-Style Swordfish which employs sundried tomatoes and capers.

My new fave, Grilled Swordfish with Lemon and Caper Sauce, sort of splits the difference between minimalism and Italian-influenced with a week night meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes.

I made this with a heavy pound of swordfish, which is enough for two adults and two kids if they don’t eat a lot. I halved only the butter and the capers because I like to have sauce at my disposal.

I love this whole-lemon approach to things–just be sure you get the pith off well and watch them come together nicely in the butter with the capers. From here ChefJune wants you to put your fish on the grill; I used a grill pan and cooked my fish while my sauce was going so the whole thing could be done in about 10 minutes.

This is fast and eloquent, the best of a weeknight world." –Jestei

—The Editors

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 12 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large lemon, peeled, cut crosswise into 8 1/4" slices, seeded, with all the juice
  • 2 tablespoons drained nonpareil capers
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 3 swordfish steaks cut 1 1/4-inch thick (about 1 pound each)
  • 3 tablespoons (very green) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir constantly until the butter is light brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Cut the lemon slices into quarters. Add them (with their juice), and the capers, to the saucepan. Reduce the heat and cook, shaking the pan several times, until the lemon and capers are heated through, about 1 minute. Taste for and correct seasoning.
  3. Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Brush the swordfish with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste.
  4. Grill or broil the swordfish about 4 inches from the heat, turning once, until charred outside and still slightly pink in the center (3 to 4 minutes per side).
  5. Transfer the swordfish to a large platter and cut into thick strips. Pour the lemon and caper sauce over the fish and serve immediately, garnished with the chopped parsley.
  6. Wine Tip: Juicy whites are most refreshing in summer. There are a whole host of tasty and affordable bottles in that category. We drank Albariño from Martin Codax (and also toasted Spain’s win in the World Cup!)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lawprof
  • ChefJune
  • Goo
  • Suellen
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator