The swordfish – also known as broadbills—are are one of the most recognisable fish species, with their elongated sword-like bill. The predatory swordfish uses this protrusion to injure its prey, rather than to spear or skewer it as folklore tells us. Indeed, swordfish are formidable creatures, with the largest on record reaching 650 kilograms, at 4.55 metres in length. This immense size, and consequent strength makes catching a swordfish of this size a significant achievement for any sports fisherman. However, most commercially-caught swordfish are between 1.2 and 1.9 metres long, and between 50 and 90 kilograms.
Selecting your swordfish
You will likely see swordfish sold in steak fillets, rather than as a whole fish. Choose flesh that appears firm, dense, with a slight salty odour. In regards to colour, red—not brown—flesh is desirable.
Unlike many kinds of fish, that may fall apart on cooking, swordfish’s dense flesh holds up to a great variety of cooking and serving methods, such as baking, barbecuing on skewers, and pan-searing. If you are less-experienced with cooking fish, this hardy fish makes an excellent starting point. However, as is true with much seafood, it is best served fresh and with minimal intervention. When grilling swordfish, it may help to remember that it requires the same handling as a rare beef steak: a light seasoning, and a very hot pan. For a steak that is 2-3cm thick, cook it on either side for 2-3 minutes. Leaving skin on whilst grilling can help prevent dryness, but be sure to discard this when serving, as swordfish skin is largely tasteless and overly chewy.
For those following a diet low in carbohydrates, swordfish is an ideal meat as it is high in protein and carb-free. Adding to its health profile, it contains nutrients that are lacking in many of our diets. It is abundant in the essential minerals potassium and selenium, both of which help with muscle restoration and building. It also contains over your daily recommended dosage of Vitamin D—an essential nutrient that is lacked by over a third of Australians.