Unless you are a seafood enthusiast, the name swordfish may come off as foreign. But you’ll be surprised to know that it is quite a common fish type that many people worldwide consume. Just to bring the swordfish closer home, this read is dedicated to unveiling characteristic traits such as its taste, texture, smell, moisture level, among others.
Hopefully, the next time you’re around a seafood diner, and this dish happens to be listed, you’ll have a vivid idea of what to expect!
What is Swordfish?
Let’s begin with a general intro.
The swordfish has its name coined from its conspicuous, pointy bill. From a distance, it closely resembles a sword, only now on a fish. This marine dweller has a round body, large eyes, and unlike other categories, can grow pretty big. A full-grown male can stretch up to 455 cm in length and weigh 650kgs!
While anglers would delight in catching such a prize, those commercially sold only average at about 120-190cm long. You will find swordfish in fresh deep waters, preferably ocean bodies, and if not careful, they might outrun you due to their fast speeds.
When cooked, this kind of meat is considered very close to beef. In fact, the two steaks can be substituted one for another in several recipes.
How Does it Taste
One of the most fascinating things about the swordfish is its mild, slightly sweet flavor, quite uncommon to the fish species. The beauty of it is both salty and sweet dishes take well to this kind of steak, and therefore you are not limited.
In terms of texture, the fish boasts a very firm consistency. This denseness and volume are the secrets behind its beefy resemblance.
You see, most fish tend to be flaky and delicate, and the downside to this is that they could fall apart when cooked. A good example is a salmon, and it explains why most times the fish is eaten raw. With swordfish, you need not worry because it can handle heat well without crumbling.
Also, it retains a lot of its inherent moisture during the cooking process. A bite of it, when cooked correctly, should be fairly succulent. Word of caution though, letting it sit on a fire for too long will most certainly cause it to run dry, and this is why you should strive to get a pink inside for a pleasant taste.
What of Its Nutritional Value
Usually, a significant concern with swordfish consumers revolves around its nutritional profile and whether it’s a healthy fish to eat. The answer is yes; however, the quantifier is not to eat it too regularly nor in large proportions. Swordfish are high in mercury, and because of this, too much of it could lead to mercury toxicity. Regulate the dish to twice a week, and as far as servings go, keep it at 3 ounces per plate.
That said, the upside to eating swordfish is that it provides a ton of essential nutrients. These include;
- Selenium is good for thyroid problems, immunity and acts as a powerful antioxidant against cancer.
- Vitamin D is vital for bone formation and calcium absorption in the gut.
- Being an oily fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that promote lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. In turn, the risk of heart disease is reduced.
- Compared to red meat, it is much lower in fat and calorie count.
How to Choose Swordfish
Picking a vibrant swordfish is perhaps the first step to achieving great taste. Stale meat, no matter how well cooked, will result in poor, possibly dangerous food. To help you with this, here are some of the signs that your selection is fresh.
- The flesh must be ivory in color or close to translucent. Anything opaque is a red flag.
- Veins should be bright red showing the fish is freshly caught. The darker they are, the longer the fish has stayed.
- Red spots are an indicator that the fish was in distress when being caught. Stay away from such.
Preparation and Serving
Once you are satisfied with your pick, next comes the preparation bit.
If you’re wondering how to cook your swordfish, the good news is the meat is very flexible and can take to many cooking methods from baking, deep fry, grills, boiling, or stewing. It’s therefore up to you to choose which method suits you best.
Also, swordfish don’t require too much prior preparation before hitting the fire. Only a simple marinade will work and this too is optional. Dry spices that pair well include basil, cumin, paprika, chili, and garlic. Some people prefer to skin the fish early; however, it may be worthwhile to do this later to reserve its juices.
For the sake of this guide, let’s take a look at the 2 most common preparation methods- grilling and frying.
This works best with a fillet where you need to oil your pan and heat it before tossing in your steak. Let it sear for about 2-3 minutes before flipping it over for another 3 minutes. You could throw in a bit of spice to season together with the hot oil, for example, garlic, butter, and cilantro. While at it, don’t forget about that pink center!
Low and slow is the method. Remember, this is a fleshy fish, so high heat will likely run it dry before it’s ready. We recommend not skipping past the marinade because it will add a burst of flavor in the end, and white wine is an excellent choice.
Preheat your grill, and once up to temperature, place the fish on the grates to cook slowly. Turn it on either side after every 5 minutes to ensure all sides are evenly cooked. The fish is ready when it easily flakes with a fork.
Once done, grab your plate and set your fish. Lemon slices are yummy when served with any kind of fish, so don’t leave them out.
As for the side dishes, a vegetable salad will work well and balance the meal. Potatoes can come in handy too, especially if you need a side dish that’s filling.
1. Is swordfish affordable?
Swordfish fetches a relatively steep price tag owing to its size and difficulty in catching. A swordfish steak can scale even higher now that it has the bones removed.
2. Why is the fish so high in mercury?
Larger fish that have lived longer contain the highest levels of mercury simply because they’ve had more time to accumulate it. The average swordfish has a mercury load of 0.995ppm, while bigger ones could reach 3.22ppm.
3. What kind of fish can’t you eat?
At the top of the list of toxic species include the grouper, monkfish, bluefish tuna, orange roughy, and farmed salmon.
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