What Does Swordfish Taste Like?

This iconic sea catch is instantly recognizable for its long sword-like beak. Swordfish can grow up to 15 ft in length, topping out at weights of 1400 lb. That 1400 lb equals out to good deal of meat.

It may seem that more people have seen a swordfish mounted on the wall of their favorite seafood restaurant than they have actually tasted it. However it is not an uncommon fish to eat, and is actually rather delicious. So, what does swordfish taste like?

Swordfish has a white or pinkish orange flesh when raw, that turns beige once it is cooked. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste to it that is not overly fishy. The taste of swordfish is perfect for those who think they don’t like fish. 

What Does Swordfish Taste Like? 

Taste

Swordfish is also referred to as broadbill, espada, or emperado. The flavor of swordfish is mild, and almost sweet. Some tasters who do not regularly enjoy the taste of fish might actually enjoy swordfish. That is because the fishiness quality of it is considered rather understated. Swordfish tastes like a denser, stronger version of tuna, with an oily presence and low fishiness. 

If you compare it to mahi-mahi, you will note that it is significantly stronger on the palate. When placed next to a quality fillet of the similarly-shaped marlin, you might notice that it is oilier, as well as carrying a slightly more harsh taste profile. 

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For those with an eye trained to their health, swordfish is a superb choice. It has a high nutritional value, as it is full of amino acids, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients. Amino acids and essential fatty acids help to develop muscle tissue and maintain joint health.

Color

Of course, choosing the best quality swordfish will improve the taste. Cooking a fresh loin of swordfish will yield the most flavorful result. Keep a close eye on the vein that you might catch running through the flesh. If the bloodline is red, the catch is fresh. Darker brown or black means that it is slightly older.

The flesh should be a rich ivory color, even bordering on translucency. When swordfish has been frozen, you will see that the flesh is now opaque.

Red spots are a dead giveaway that the fish was stressed when it was caught. The texture will be heavily affected if you choose to buy this cut of fish.

Seasoned 

A hefty dose of seasoning will go a long way with this already flavorful meat. When seasoned just right, expect a wonderful depth of flavor, with a palatable, oily flavor that is rich and delicious.

Some of the most common herbs and spices you will find adorning a succulent cut of swordfish include:

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Paprika
  • Garlic
  • Chili
  • Mint
  • And of course, a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

A coating of olive oil will go a long way to improve the flavor and texture of this fish, if the fish itself is already oily and quality. A little extra, however, will not make it greasy. Instead, that richness will only be heightened. 

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Aroma 

While most associate seafood with having an unpleasant, fish-market odor, this is usually a misconception. Swordfish has a pleasant smell that is fresh and clean. The freshest cuts of swordfish will have a very oceanic smell.

Texture 

The texture is really where swordfish stands out among its seafood. The way you will find swordfish prepared is more akin to a cut of steak. It will be on a plate as a fillet, with a knife and fork to slice into smaller pieces. That is due to the meaty texture of the fish’s flesh.

When compared to fish like salmon, red snapper, or halibut, you will not find swordfish as easy to flake into pieces. It is heartier, and less delicate than its more buttery seafood cousins.

Swordfish is considered to be a type of pelagic oily fish. The oil content in the filet is about 30%. That is why the texture is so heavy and rich.

Preparation Methods 

Grilling 

Since it is often served like a steak, why not cook it like one? Grilling is a popular method of serving swordfish, and it’s easy to see why. The dense texture and mild flavor make it perfect for the grill. Because it is so hefty in texture, you won’t have to worry about the meat falling through the grate. 

That mild sweetness will be enhanced by a great seasoning, and smoky grilling. A melting of butter will give it a sense of luxurious smoothness, highlighting that rich taste. 

Frying 

Frying a cut of swordfish will give it a similar texture to that of a grilled cut. However the fish will require more oil while frying to incorporate the flavors of all the supporting ingredients. 

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It’s not recommended to deep fry a swordfish. The meat’s texture will become hard and tough, turning that density into an unpleasant chewiness. It is best to shallow fry your swordfish. The end result will taste very similar to the grilled method, providing you use a varied host of seasonings.

Conclusion 

Swordfish is an excellent, meaty fish, with a high oil content and low fishiness. It is slightly sweet, and mild, however when compared to tuna or mahi-mahi, it stands strong.