Swordfish with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Pan-Roasting Makes this Recipe Easy & Foolproof

Serves 4 | Total Prep & Cooking Time: 20 minutes
8g Protein | 480 Calories | 18g Carbohydrates |  8g Saturated Fat, 4g Unsaturated Fat

Make this foolproof swordfish recipe with lemon-garlic sauce when you need a fast, easy at-home dinner - or when you want to impress your favorite dinner guests but don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

If you love garlicky shrimp scampi, you're going to be crazy about the addictive lemon-garlic sauce with butter, olive oil, and white wine featured in this recipe for swordfish steaks. 

Pan roasting, a favorite technique of many professional chefs, means your steaks will have a nice brown crust on the outside but remain moist and flavorful on the inside - no need to worry about them drying out from overcooking. 

I like to buy the thickest swordfish steaks I can find - at least 1 inch thick, or more (the steak in the photo above was almost 2 inches thick).  Take them out of your refrigerator one hour before you want to start cooking, put them on a plate, and let them come to room temperature.  You'll pan roast them, which means searing them briefly on each side to seal in the flavors, and then popping them into the oven to finish cooking.  While they're in the oven, you'll make the lemon-garlic sauce in just a few minutes.

Turn on your oven to 400° F.  Heat a skillet on your stovetop for a few minutes until it's very hot.  While the skillet is heating, dry the swordfish steaks thoroughly with a paper towel - this is the secret to getting it really brown.  Sprinkle them with a little salt (not much, because fish is naturally salty) and pepper. 

Add 2-3 tablespoons of canola or olive oil to the skillet, heat it for a minute or two until it begins to smoke, and then add the swordfish.  Brown the first side for 2-3 minutes, flip the steaks over, and brown the other side for another 2-3 minutes.  Now, pop the skillet with the fish into a hot oven to finish cooking - usually another 7-12 minutes, depending on the steaks' thickness.   

While the fish roasts in the oven, melt the butter for the sauce in a small skillet over low heat, and cook the garlic and hot pepper flakes for about 2 minutes.  Set aside.

After the swordfish has been roasting for about 6 minutes, I use a fork to test for doneness every minute or so - as soon as it flakes, it's done.  Remove the fish from the oven and put it onto a serving plate.

Pour the wine into the hot fish skillet, and deglaze.  Stir in the garlic-hot pepper mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in the grated zest and lemon juice, and pour it over the fish.  Sprinkle with parsley, and it's ready to serve.

The thick swordfish steaks turn out perfect every time.

And here's a tip:  The delicious lemon-garlic sauce used in this recipe works equally well for tuna steaks and halibut steaks.  

Swordfish with Lemon Garlic Sauce Recipe


  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish steak - at least 1 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons canola
  • Salt and pepper (kosher or sea salt works best)

For the lemon-garlic sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons parsley for garnish, snipped or cut into small pieces

What to Do First

Take the swordfish out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.

Set the oven to 400°F.

Pan-roast the swordfish

Follow these pan roasting instructions to cook the swordfish.

You'll be surprised by how quickly the swordfish steak finishes cooking in the oven.  Start checking swordfish after about 6 minutes - the moment it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.

Make the lemon-garlic sauce

Start the sauce while the swordfish steaks roast in the oven - fast and easy to do, and the smell is mouth-watering.

1.  Add the butter and olive oil to a small skillet, and melt over low heat. 

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook over very low heat (you don't want to burn the garlic!) until the garlic begins to turn light brown.  Set aside until the fish is done.

2. Use a spatula to carefully remove the swordfish from the pan and put it on a serving platter.

3.  Add the white wine to the cooking pan and stir to deglaze - remember to use oven mitts when touching the hot pan!  Pour the wine mixture into the skillet with the garlic, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to reduce the volume.  Remove from the heat, and stir in the grated lemon zest and lemon juice.  Pour over the swordfish, and garnish with the parsley.

Serving suggestions

Serve this delicious swordfish with lemon-garlic sauce with linguine or another type of pasta, a green vegetable such as steamed broccoli, and crusty slices of French bread.