Blackened Swordfish

No ratings yet

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Meaty swordfish seasoned with a flavorful Cajun blend of herbs and spices grills up beautifully.

Grilled blackened swordfish on plate with fruit salsa.

If you are looking for a super flavorful and crowd-pleasing grilled fish dinner, look no further. These firm and meaty swordfish steaks boast deep color and deep flavor and are an easy way to introduce fish to your grilling repertoire.

Paul Prudhomme is the father of Cajun cooking and the chef who first brought blackened fish to the fore. In 1980, Chef Prudhomme created his official Cajun blend of herbs and spices, which lends incredible, savory flavor to fish. This is the blend we think of when we think of foods that are “blackened.” And like most rubs, this blend imparts immediate flavor to the fish. You can make this Blackened Swordfish recipe from start to finish in under 30 minutes.

Other fish are also prepared in this manner. Try redfish (Prudhomme’s fish choice), cod, pompano, tilefish, trout, catfish, tilapia, and so on. Chicken and shrimp can also be blackened. The name comes from the fact that when the fish is cooked, the spice blend turns a dark brown, almost black. It’s not burned, though — just blackened! Brushing the fish with oil first helps the spice rub adhere.

This assertively flavored fish is terrific served with lemon wedges or a salsa. I like to make a fruit salsa to serve with blackened fish, such as Tropical Fruit Salsa or Pineapple Mint Salsa. See below for more salsa suggestions!

Spooning fruit salsa on blackened swordfish plate.

Blackened Swordfish: Meaty swordfish seasoned with a flavorful Cajun blend of herbs and spices grills up beautifully.

Tweet This

What Is in a Blackened Rub?

This blackened spice rub contains most of the same spices as Chef Prudhomme’s mix, but the proportions are a bit different. It’s spicy — reduce the amount of cayenne if you want a milder-seasoned fish, but don’t dial it down too far. This is supposed to have some Cajun kick!

The blackened spice rub contains garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried thyme and oregano, cayenne pepper, and freshly ground black pepper. (I used sweet paprika, but smoked is another option.)

What Does Blackened Swordfish Taste Like?

Swordfish is a fairly mild and ever-so-slightly sweet fish, and you want to make sure (as always when cooking fish) that it is as fresh as possible. But this is one of those rare cases when you can use strongly flavored seasonings on the fish, thanks to its rich, meaty texture. In this recipe, you will definitely taste the herbs and spices in the Cajun blend as much as the fish.

There is some heat to this Cajun spice blend, but it shouldn’t be overpoweringly hot. The spice mixture is both savory and slightly spicy. When cooked, blackened swordfish may have a burnt look, but if you’ve prepared it well, there should not be a burnt flavor.

Kitchen Smarts

You can also bake blackened swordfish instead of grilling, though you won’t get the same burnished color on the outside. Bake in a pan with a wire rack inserted at 400 degrees for a total of about 10 minutes, turning it once midway.

Blackened swordfish on plate at picnic.

How to Buy the Best Swordfish

According to Sandy Ingar, a long-time chef at the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, swordfish flesh can range from very white to almost pumpkin orange. The flesh should be shiny with a nice red (not brown) bloodline and no discolorations. The higher the fat content, says Ingbar, the more buttery the flavor and the moister the swordfish will be. He suggests asking your fishmonger about the fat content.

If you can buy your fish at a fish store with a high turnover, you are likely to get the best fish. And if you are lucky enough to be near a coast and have access to a dayboat that catches swordfish, you will get the best, freshest fish available!

How to Grill Blackened Swordfish

  1. Make the blackened rub: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, pepper, thyme, and cayenne. Mix well.
  2. Preheat the grill to high.
  3. Blacken the swordfish: Pat the swordfish steaks dry, brush the fish with the olive oil, and sprinkle the blackening rub evenly on all sides of the fish, pressing it into the fish.
  4. Grill the swordfish: Flip it one to three times, depending on the thickness (see Tips). To test for doneness, press with your finger; the fish should flake into large chunks.
Swordfish steaks on hot grill.
  1. Enjoy: Serve hot or warm with lemon wedges and/or salsa.
Adding fruit salsa to blackened swordfish at barbecue.

Pro Swordfish Grilling Tips

  • Trim away most of the bloodline before cooking. The bloodline is a bright red muscle that runs down the middle of the swordfish. It has a stronger flavor than the rest of the fish. Some people don’t mind the stronger flavor, but most people prefer to cut it out. You should do this before cooking ,if possible. Otherwise, remove or avoid it once cooked.
  • Avoid fish with a brown bloodline; it should be a fairly intense red.
  • Make sure your grill grates are clean and oiled and the grill is very hot before putting the fish on.
  • Depending on the thickness of your swordfish, you may want to flip it one, two, or even three times. Thicker swordfish (over an inch thick) can be flipped up to three times, allowing you to get those nice cross-hatch marks without overcooking the interior. If your fish is thinner, you may only want to flip it one or two times to prevent the fish from drying out as the outside takes on a nice browned color.

Internal Temperature for Swordfish

Swordfish steaks are best cooked to medium or even medium-well. When cooked to well-done, they can dry out.

Medium means there is a faint tinge of pink in the middle and a mere hint of translucence in the very center. (You can check with a small sharp knife, peeking inside to see.) The fish should flake easily when pressed. Remove it from the heat just before it’s cooked to the degree you like it. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving; it will continue to cook a bit once it is removed from the grill.

The internal temperature for medium grilled swordfish is about 130 to 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. For medium-well look for an internal temp 135 to 140 degrees, and if you prefer your fish cooked to well-done, cook it to 145 degrees. If you are cooking your fish to well-done, remove it from the grill the moment it hits that 145 internal temperature, or it will dry out.

What to Serve With Blackened Swordfish

Plates of blackened swordfish, salsa, and salads on outdoor table.

More Grilled Fish and Seafood Recipes

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It
No ratings yet

Grilled Blackened Swordfish

Meaty swordfish seasoned with a flavorful Cajun blend of herbs and spices grills up beautifully.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Save this recipe!
We’ll send it to your email, plus you’ll get new recipes every week!

Ingredients 

For the seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the swordfish:

  • 4 (1-inch thick) swordfish steaks (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, pepper, thyme, and cayenne. Mix well.
  • Preheat the grill to high. Scrub the grill rack with a grill brush. Use grilling tongs to dip a wad of paper towels in some vegetable oil and use the oil-dipped paper towels to wipe down the grill rack.
  • Pat the swordfish steaks dry with clean paper towels. Brush the fish with the olive oil and sprinkle the blackening rub evenly on all sides of the fish, pressing it into the fish.
  • Grill the swordfish for 2 minutes, then flip the fish and cook for another 2 minutes. Flip the fish once more, turning them 90 degrees or a quarter of a turn, so that the grill grates are perpendicular to the first set of grill marks. Grill for another 2 minutes, then flip once more, again rotating the fish so that you get cross-hatched grill marks. Grill for another 2 minutes, or until the swordfish steaks are just barely cooked through. To test press with your finger; the fish should flake into large chunks.
  • Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm with lemon wedges and salsa, if desired. You can also serve the swordfish sliced.

Notes

  • Trim away most of the bloodline, the dark red section of the swordfish before cooking. It has a stronger flavor than the rest of the fish. You should do this before cooking if possible, or remove it or avoid it once cooked.
  • Avoid fish with a brown bloodline; it should be a fairly intense red.
  • Make sure your grill grates are clean and oiled and the grill is very hot before putting the fish on.
  • Depending on the thickness of your swordfish, you may want to flip it one, two, or even three times. Thicker swordfish (over an inch thick) can be flipped up to three times, allowing you to get those nice cross-hatch marks without overcooking the interior. If your fish is thinner, you may only want to flip it one or two times to prevent the fish from drying out as the outside takes on a nice browned color.
  • The internal temperature for medium grilled swordfish is about 130 to 135 degrees, for medium-well look for an internal temp 135 to 140 degrees, and if you prefer your fish cooked to well-done, cook it to 145 degrees. If you are cooking your fish to well-done, remove it from the grill the moment it hits that 145 internal temperature, or it will dry out.

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 1303mg, Potassium: 783mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 924IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating