Swordfish is often described as the most “meat-like” of all fishes. The steaks have very high oil content, with a dense, meaty texture and a slightly sweet taste. The flavour is not overpowering, allowing for stronger flavours to be used in its preparation. An interesting way to prepare swordfish is to poach steaks in a strong fish stock, infused with olives. Dress with dried red capsicum, dried tomatoes, olives and oven-roasted garlic, and serve on a bed of angel hair pasta with a mash of salsify. Swordfish is also suited to grilling, frying and baking.
To Buy Swordfish:
Usually sold as steaks, but also sometimes as cutlets or sashimi. Look for cream-pale pink, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
To Store Swordfish:
Lay in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
To Cook Swordfish:
Average yield is 70% from trunks. Has a slightly sweet flavour, high oiliness and moist, firm flesh with fine flakes. Overcooked it quickly becomes dry. The thick skin should be removed. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.
Swordfish Cooking Methods:
Pan-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.
Swordfish goes well with:
Anchovies, capsicum, chilli, citrus, garlic, ginger, spring (green) onions, mirin, olives, olive oil, onion, sesame oil, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, wasabi.
Albacore – Sold whole, but more commonly as cutlets or steaks and sometimes as smoked fillets. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In cutlets, steaks and fillets, look for red, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any dull brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Bonito – Usually sold whole, though fishmongers will fillet it upon request; also sometimes available as sashimi. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell; flesh should be pale reddish (pale pink to white in Leaping Bonito), firm, lustrous and moist without any dull brown markings or oozing water. Always buy sashimi-grade fish if it is to be served raw or rare.
Stripped Marlin – Usually sold as steaks. Look for reddish-pink, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Tuna – Tuna is usually sold as steaks, cutlets or sliced as sashimi. Look for pinkish red to burgundy flesh (colour varies with species and cut) that is firm, lustrous and moist without any dull brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell. Always buy sashimi-grade fish if it is to be served raw or rare.
Mackerel, especially Spanish Mackerel, can make a good alternative when grilling or barbecuing. The strong oily flesh can handle strong flavours to accompany, especially when charred on a BBQ. Popular accompaniments include olives, roasted vegetables, garlic and herbs.
Mahi Mahi – a large gamefish with similar “meaty” flesh to that of swordfish and marlin. It is a more sustainable alternative, well suited to preparations including grilling, barbecuing, and use in soups or curries.