Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish

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baked swordfish with olive relish

The making of Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish

I like swordfish. It’s a dense non-fishy fish with a firm texture that can be grilled, fried, broiled or baked.  And this recipe for Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish is delish when cooked with any of those methods.

Fish Watch – Swordfish

I don’t serve swordfish often. Much of it is currently tagged yellow according to Fish Watch but is slowly making its way back to the green category. Commercial fishermen line catch swordfish along both coasts and on the high seas and swordfish fisheries in the U.S.  are strictly managed, both to conserve the swordfish and minimize the fisheries’ impact on other species. This is very good as swordfish were practically fished out in the 1980’s and 90’s.

As for Pacific swordfish, they were never in trouble — especially those around Hawaii. They get an “A” rating as a sustainable seafood choice by groups like the Monterey Bay Aquarium another good resource on sustainable fishing. But it’s hard to come by Pacific swordfish even here on the left coast.

You still should avoid ALL imported swordfish, so be sure to ask the question “where did this fish come from?” If they can’t tell you, don’t buy it.

When buying swordfish there will generally be a little dark colored area, make sure this is red, not brown.  Brown means the fish is old.  I generally cut this out before cooking. It’s not necessary.  It’s just me.

If you can’t find swordfish, you could make this with another firm white fish, such as halibut or grouper.


Capers? What’s a caper?


a bowl of capers as used in Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish


What the heck are capers?

Capers are the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant that is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia.

After the buds are harvested, they are dried in the sun, then pickled in vinegar, brine, or salt. The curing brings out their tangy lemony flavor, I think of them as a cross between a dill pickle and a green olive.

The size of the buds ranges from tiny (about the size of a baby petite green pea) up to the size of a small olive. The smallest variety from the South of France, called nonpareil, is the most prized and comes with an equally notable price-tag. Larger capers are stronger in flavor and less aromatic.

You may be tempted to leave the capers out of the recipe, and if you did it would still be good, just not AS good.


Anchovies -Love them? Hate them?

Same with the anchovies.  It seems people have a love/hate relationship to anchovies.  And while I don’t want whole ones on my pizza, I do like the fishy saltiness they add to this olive relish.  You can’t taste them, just their nuance.

And nuance is what gives you a full depth of flavor.

If you are thinking about serving this with a wine, together, the texture of the fish and the savory toppings puts this dish into the heavy bodied category of wine pairing theory making it perfect with a Super Tuscan or Chianti.

When I first wrote this recipe for Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish I baked it (duh, thus the name). But last night I put the fish on the grill.  It was perfect.

Great texture, so versatile. That’s what I love in a fish!

Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish


  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped green olives
  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata or black oil cured olives
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (you can do these yourself or you can use bottled, I use bottled)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (or to taste)
  • 2 anchovies, drained and minced (this really gives a good flavor to the relish, so try to use them and don’t go yuck)
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained (I like to lightly chop these)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 (4- 6 ounce) swordfish steaks


Step 1

Combine the olives, peppers, parsley, anchovies, capers, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, allow to sit for a while to let the flavors blend, 1 hour would be great. (Party Tip: Make this the day before and let it sit overnight covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the swordfish on both sides with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot; add the fish and sear on both sides until brown; then pop the pan in the oven to finish the cooking process; cook until done, about 10 minutes more. (

UPDATEIf you want to grill them as I did; heat your grill to high. Season with the oil, salt, and pepper, then place on oiled grids and cook covered for about 5 minutes per side or until cooked I prefer my swordfish cooked through, not rare)

Step 3

Put the fish on a warm plate, top with the relish.

Baked Swordfish with olive relish

Baked Swordfish with Olive Relish

Served with Farro Pilaf and Zucchini Spaghetti (done with two different squashes – nice huh?)

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    20g (3g Sat, 9g Mono, 2g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

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