Grilled Swordfish with Lemon and Caper Sauce

July 12, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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! -ChefJuneChefJune

Food52 Review: 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. - frozenfoodieThe Editors

Serves: 6
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 12 min


  • 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!)

More Great Recipes:
American|Lemon|Seafood|Swordfish|Capers|Parsley|Serves a Crowd|Grill/Barbecue|Quick and Easy|Outdoor Entertaining|Spring|Summer

Reviews (7) Questions (1)

7 Reviews

Suellen May 19, 2018
When my husband looked at our plates, he said "this looks like a gourmet restaurant serving." The recipe is simple, the sauce was delicious. Try eating a piece of the lemon peel that has been sitting in the butter.
K J. January 15, 2018
I had already decided I wanted to make swordfish with lemon and capers, and I check the net to see if others had made something like this already. I was surprised to find a few different recipes. After checking several I tried this one out. We enjoyed it immensely! The variation this recipe had that I liked was that it cooked the fish and the sauce separately. I believe this helps preserve the lighter flavors of this dish. The only addition I made was a little garlic powder added into the sauce. I'll certainly be adding this to my keeper list.
Author Comment
ChefJune January 16, 2018
So glad you liked it!
Ross May 29, 2016
We made this last night and the results were fantastic. "Restaurant quality" was the universal response. We marinated ours in garlic for a few minutes before we put the steaks on the grill.
Author Comment
ChefJune May 29, 2016
so glad you enjoyed it!
sl(i)m August 3, 2012
Dee-lish-us!! Just tried it with sword fish shortcuts and it was wonderful.. picky eaters loved it :~))
Loves P. May 4, 2011
I made this last night for dinner - it was actually a pleasant night in the Philadelphia area, as oppossed to what it is today - and grilled fished seemed like a really good idea. The sauce is really nice, easy but really flavorful and fun. It really rounded out the fish making it special. The sauce also runs around your plate a little, comingling with vegetables and some rice making the meal feel like a company event rather than an easy, after work dinner. So, thanks and yes, a juicy, soft white wine really was a nice addition!