Cooking Swordfish in a pan is not hard
Swordfish is a highly sustainable fish that are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. It has become a staple amongst fish eaters at it has an extremely low fat content. Unfortunately, because of this feature, it can easy to over cook the fish resulting in a dry dish without much flavor. Cooking Swordfish in a pan is not as hard as one might think, as long as careful attention is paid to preparation and timing.
INGREDIENTS AND TOOLS
- Swordfish Steaks or Fillets
- Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Lemon (A second Lemon is Optional)
- Orange (Optional)
- Olive Oil Cooking Spray (Optional)
- Cast Iron Frying Pan
- Thin Metal Spatula
- Liquid Measuring Cup (Optional)
- Small Metal Spoon (Optional)
- Covered Dish or Large Plastic Baggie that can be Zipped (Optional)
Important to know before cooking
How to choose Swordfish. Preparing food
FRESH IS KEY. Prior to any cooking actually taking place, it is important to remember to obtain quality ingredients. The freshness and standard of each item that is used in your cooking ultimately contributes to the outcome of your dish. First and foremost, you will need to select the best cuts of Swordfish that are available to you. You will be able to tell how fresh a cut of fish is by several factors; including the overall smell. A clean, vibrant smell and color will show whether the fish you are considering has been laying out for a while. Fish will not keep for long, so ensuring you get a good, fresh cut is key. The finest and most flavorful dishes will always come when using a fish that has purchased on the same day that it has been cooked.
IT MAY ALL LOOK THE SAME, BUT IT IS NOT . The best place to find quality Swordfish is to visiting a reliable fish store. If this is not available to you, the seafood department of a well-stocked market should have the quality and freshness you are looking for. The person working the fish market or stand should be able to guide you towards purchasing the best cut for your dish. Feel free to explain your plan and what you are looking for so that they can assist you thoroughly. Be sure to inquire about when the fish was caught, if it is locally sourced and how long it has been sitting in the refrigerator case; as all of these factors can have an effect on the taste of the Swordfish you purchase.
PRESERVATION OF YOUR FISH . Once purchased, be sure to bring your fish home immediately. Do not tamper with the packaging that the fish was placed in when you bought it, as exposure to the air and other elements can affect the fish. When you arrive home, the best practice for full and unspoiled flavor is to keep the fish nestled in a mound of ice in the fridge. This will keep it preserved until the time comes to prepare it. Most people remove the fish from the packaging before placing in the ice, but this is optional.
TEMPERATURE IS KEY. When you are ready to begin cooking the Swordfish, it is best to take the fish out of the refrigerator. Place it on the counter and let it get to room temperature. This should take about fifteen minutes. Letting the fish “warm up” when removing it from the fridge will allow it to cook more evenly in the pan. Fish that is not room temperature may be inconsistent once heated in your pan.
PAT THE FISH. Any essential step that many people forget to do before they begin to cook is to pat your Swordfish dry. Many individuals believe that by keeping the outer moisture on the fish, they are ensuring that the fish remains moist when cooking. This is completely incorrect. By patting it dry, you are preventing the fish from getting mushy while cooking. The excess surface moisture causes your Swordfish to steam rather than sear; which equates to the mushy texture. Patting your fish dry before seasoning and/or placing it in the pan will keep your fish juicy and allow for that golden brown crust to form when searing it.
SALT IS YOUR FRIEND. Before placing your Swordfish in the pan, many people like to season their fish. Even if you decide not to add a lot of spices to your Swordfish, you should take time to rub all sides of your Swordfish steaks with a bit of sea salt. By adding salt, you are helping the fish’s natural flavors to be enhanced while cooking. Table salt can be used if you do not have sea salt on hand. However, sea salt adds a more flavor to the fish and is a better compliment to the olive oil that is being used to cook the fish.
THE RIGHT PAN FOR THE JOB. Aside from the perfect protein cut, the best dishes always start with the most appropriate cooking vehicle for the dish. For best results when cooking Swordfish, try using a cast iron frying pan. For those of you who do not know, this is the thick, heavy black frying pan that many people use while camping to cook over an open flame. This pan is always the best type of frying pan to use for cooking fish. The heavy material of the pan allows for all fish to cook more evenly than a nonstick or stainless steel pan. In addition, the pan is able to maintain this heat better which adds to the ability to cook the fish evenly without burning it.
METAL IS BETTER. Many people think that it does not matter what utensils you need when cooking fish. This cannot be further from the truth. It is always best to use a thin, metal spatula when it is time to flip your Swordfish. Fish texture is extremely light and delicate. Using a thick spatula to flip the fish onto its other side may tear the fish. An elongated, metal spatula with a beveled edge will neatly slip underneath the fish without damaging it. In addition, the wide slots on the metal spatula will provide a way for any liquid or oil that is being used while cooking to slid through. This prevents waste of the liquid while allowing for the same amount of flavoring on both sides of the fish without having to add an additional amount to the pan.
READY, SET, COOK!
Okay, prep is done and you are now ready to begin cooking your Swordfish. Best practice is to coat the pan with olive oil and heat in on a medium-high heat. Olive oil is the perfect complimentary flavor to most fish, and the end taste is pleasing to most guests’ pallets. The most important thing to remember is to allow time for the pan and oil to be heat up prior to adding your Swordfish. You can tell that the pan and oil are ready when it begins to shimmer. Cooking a fish in a cool pan will cause the fish to stick to the pan. This will lead to unevenly cooked fish and mess with the overall texture and moisture of the end product. Using a piping hot pan of olive oil creates an ideal environment for your Swordfish to be perfectly cooked.
LOOK, BUT DO NOT TOUCH. Once the Swordfish is placed into the hot pan, do not touch it. Let it sit undisturbed on one side for the entire three minutes. Do not move the Swordfish steak throughout the pan as it is cooking. Once three minutes is up, you can flip the fish onto its other side in order to continue the proper sear. If preferred, you can lightly press down on the fish with your spatula while cooking. This step should only be taken after the fish has already cooked for at least one minute. By pressing down, you will create a light crust on the edge of the fish which can add more texture to the finished product. This is an optional step and is not necessary for an optimal Swordfish.
CHANGE BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES. When cooking any fish, you must ensure you are keeping an eye on it so it does not burn. Swordfish, like other fish fillets and steaks, do not take more than 7-10 minutes to cook completely through. Anything longer will ruin your fish dish. While it is cooking, the flesh of the Swordfish will turn from translucent to opaque. The transformation is very noticeable as long as you are watching your fish. If you notice the fish is about two-thirds of the way cooked through, this is the perfect time to flip it over to the other side. Cook for an additional three minutes to achieve complete opaqueness and your Swordfish is ready.
FLIP BUT DO NOT FLOP. As previously mentions, fish flesh is very delicate. When attempting to turn your fish, make sure to do it slowly to avoid your Swordfish from falling apart in the pay. If you are trying to turn the fish but it seems as though it is sticking to the pan, stop the process and allow the fish to continue to cook on that side for another minute. Fish will naturally release from the pan once the sear is perfect, so it is best to not disturb it until you see the fish dislodged completely. Once it is ready, you can lift the fish with the spatula and gently turn it with the help of your free hand to stabilize the fillet on the side that remains uncooked.
SERVE IMMEDIATELY. Unlike like thicker meats such as beef, Swordfish does not require any resting time prior to serving. It is best to plate the fish and serve it immediately in order to maintain the best overall flavor. Swordfish will also tend to lose moisture the longer it sits, creating a dry and flaky texture. This will typically lead to a bland fish flavor, spoiling all of the hard work and precision you have invested into making the Swordfish meal.
FINISHING TOUCHES. When your Swordfish has been seared to perfection on both sides, it is now ready to be served. Place the completed Swordfish steaks on a serving plate. Take your lemon and cut it up in to wedges. Squeeze three of the wedges over the fish, allowing the lemon juice to coat the service of each steak. The lemon, like the sea salt, helps to enhance the fish’s natural flavors. Place the remaining, unused lemon wedges on the serving plate as a garnish.
How to serve food beautifully. Interesting facts from the author
SIDES THAT ARE COMPLIMENTARY
Swordfish is the main character of your dish, and rightfully so. Consequently, any side dishes served with it should be simple and light. A freshly made garden salad is always a great compliment to any fish dish. Grilling tomatoes, carrots and red onions are also a great side for your Swordfish. The tomatoes and carrots should be grilled until they being to soften up. You will know the red onions are ready to -be served when they begin to caramelize. Once prepared, throw all three onto a plate and serve along side your Swordfish for a healthy and delicious meal.
CITRUS MARINADE (OPTIONAL)
If you are looking for a little bit more flavor to your Swordfish dish, try creating a citrus marinade to use with your fish. Take the lemon and orange, and squeeze the juice from each into a liquid measuring cup. Using a small, metal spoon; slight stir the juices together and pour into the dish or baggie. Place the Swordfish into the dish or baggie; zip or cover and let sit for 10 minutes. This will allow the fish to marinade in the citrus juices added a bit of flavor.
ZEST IS BEST (OPTIONAL)
For an added flavor, add a citrus zest to your Swordfish. Grab a second lemon and an orange, and zest the peel into a small mixing bowl. Rub this zest mixture onto your Swordfish steaks after adding the salt during preparation. If any zest falls off of the filet, add it to the top of the fish while it is cooking. But take care not to disturb the fish during this process.
SUMMER GRILLING (ALTERNATIVE)
Grilling is another great option for cooking Swordfish. However, it is imperative that the grill is thoroughly cleaned prior to placing the fish fillets or steaks on it. Placing fish onto a dirty grill top can cause the fish to stick and fall apart while cooking. One clean and dry, it is best to apply a generous amount of olive oil cooking spray to your grill prior to placing the fish on it. It is also best to use your metal spatula to flip the fish, rather than tongs in order to avoid the fish crumbling apart.
THE BENEFITS OF SWORDFISH
Swordfish is an incredibly healthy and filling protein to add to your diet. This hearty fish contains vitamin B that helps your body metabolize food. It addition, it contains unsaturated fats and vitamin E which help to protect your heart. Swordfish also contains phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D. All of these vitamins and minerals can help to maintain healthy bones and teeth. In addition, magnesium has been known to help people get a good night’s sleep while its large amount of omega-3 fatty acids can assist in controlling blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular diseases.
PRECAUSIONS THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN
Swordfish has been found to be high in mercury. This is not necessarily a complete deterrent. However, high levels of mercury in the human body can be harmful. Therefore, it is recommended that Swordfish should not be consumed by pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children. In addition, this delicacy should probably be enjoyed on special occasions. By consuming Swordfish on a more sporadic basis, you will reduce the accumulation of mercury within your body thus enabling your body to harness the health benefits of the fish without encountering extensive exposure that which may be harmful in the long run.
CHECK FOR BONES. When purchasing your fish, be sure to ask your fish mongrel if the steaks or fillets of your selected Swordfish contain bones. If so, be sure to remove any bones prior to preparing to cook. Fish often contain smaller bones and these can be harmful if a person were to swallow one. Even if purchasing “boneless” fish cuts, it is still possible for a few, small stragglers to have been missed. To check, run your fingers along the fish. If you feel any pointy bumps, these are most likely bones and can be removed using a clean tweezer.
Swordfish can be an extremely healthy and satisfying meal. It’s hearty flavor will keep everyone filled without the heavy feeling that can come with other meats. Ensuring that your Swordfish is cooked well is an easily mastered if the correct steps are taken during the entire process. Pan searing Swordfish is a quick and simple way to prepare an enjoyable Swordfish meal at home. By adding just a few staple ingredients that are readily available in most homes, you can create a dish that will satisfy even your pickiest eaters.