These marinated, Grilled Swordfish and Vegetable Kebabs are a quick dinner you can pull off indoors or outdoors. Thanks to a simple olive oil marinade with dried herbs and spices you’ll be licking the plate clean.
It takes only 15 minutes to marinate the fish and about 8 minutes to grill outdoors (or on a kitchen griddle) to juicy perfection. Serve this with cilantro-lime rice, naan or Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread and you have a complete dinner for two.
Choosing the Best Swordfish
It’s always important to take care when buying swordfish or any seafood. Look for sustainable options. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program is a fantastic resource. Swordfish sustainability depends on where and how it was fished.
If you can’t find sustainable swordfish. Try this recipe with Mahi Mahi or Striped Bass as they have the same hearty texture as a swordfish making it less likely to flake apart on the grill.
You'll find swordfish sold in white steaks, typically about 1 inch in thickness. When buying, keep the following in mind:
- Fresh swordfish steaks are white with hints of pink, not brown, and should not have a "fishy" odor. Cook fresh fish the day you buy it.
- Fresh swordfish should also have a bloodline, a muscle that is found running down the center of the fish. The brighter (pink/red) the bloodline, the fresher the fish and as it ages the line turns brown. It's not harmful to keep the bloodline on the steak, but it can be tougher and taste "fishier" than the rest of the steak. I prefer to have it removed when I purchase the fish.
- If using frozen swordfish, keep it in its package and defrost it slowly in a bowl of cold water. (Note: Unless you live on the coast, seafood is often delivered frozen to the grocery store and defrosted to put in the "fresh" fish case.
- Ask your butcher to remove the bloodline and skin. This will make it easier to cut into 1 – inch cubes for the kabobs.
The Marinade. How to Perfectly Marinate Swordfish and Vegetable Kebabs
I like to keep seafood prep simple. These easy grilled swordfish and vegetable skewers are just that.
Here, I’m employing a bold olive oil-based swordfish marinade with some of my favorite flavors.
What's in the swordfish marinade?
- Extra virgin olive oil: 4 tablespoons of a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Spices: 2 tablespoons dry cilantro, 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon dry parsley. A dash of kosher salt.
Now, how long to marinate this fish?
15 minutes or so at room temperature while the grill is heating should do it. Fish and shellfish can marinate at room temperature up to an hour; any longer and the flesh might start to “cook” and go mushy.
You can marinate swordfish for up to 4 hours if you cover and refrigerate.
Pam's tip: After about 15 minutes, I skewer and grill until cooked through and grill marks appear. This will take about 8 minutes. They are absolutely delicious!
Tips for Grilling Swordfish
- Do not marinate for more than 1 hour at room temperature or you'll risk the acids in the marinade breaking down the fish, making it difficult to keep the steak together on the grill.
- Once the grill has heated, clean and oil the grill grate (put some vegetable oil on a waded paper towel and rub it on the clean grate) so the fish does not stick.
- For grilled swordfish, some say, treat swordfish as you would cook a rare steak, using high heat to sear on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes, then turning the kebabs over to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or so. Cook swordfish to 145°F. However, the fish will continue to cook after it's taken off the grill, so remove it from the grill at 140°F to avoid overcooking. Let stand for 5 minutes.
I'm using a gas grill for this recipe but you can use a charcoal grill or even an indoor griddle . Whichever method you choose to cook your swordfish, the key is not to overcook it.
Cooking for Two? How to Store and Serve Leftover Swordfish
Refrigerate cooked swordfish tightly covered for up to 2 days. If it begins to smell "fishy" before that, discard.Serve cold, cooked swordfish flaked on top of a green salad.
To reheat, place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and reheat at 275°F for 15 minutes or until heated to 145°F.
Lastly, if you make the Swordfish and Vegetable Kebabs, be sure to leave a comment and give this recipe a rating! And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram. @Ourtable4_2 or use #OurTable42.
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Swordfish and Vegetable Kebabs You Can Pull Off Indoors or Outdoors
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- outdoor or indoor grill
- wooden or metal skewers
- ¾ pound swordfish steak ,bloodline and skin removed, cut into 1-inch cubes. Can't find swordfish? Mahi Mahi works well in this recipe.
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper ,ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch sections
- 1 red onion ,peeled cut into 1-inch diameter pieces
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- dash of kosher salt
- ¾ cup long grain brown rice or brown basmati rice ,rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- dash of Kosher salt
- 1 lemon ,cut in half
- Naan (optional)
- Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread (optional)
- Clean the swordfish: remove skin and bloodline,cut into 1-inch cubes. If your skewers are wood, soak in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling to avoid burning. Cut the pepper and onion into 1-inch by 1-inch pieces. The fish and the vegetables should be the same diameter for even cooking.
Prepare Rice (optional)
- If serving rice with the kebabs, bring a 2 cups of water in a large pot to boil over high heat. Pour in the rice and the bay leaf. Stir and let boil for 30 minutes, uncovered, reduce the heat to prevent overflow. Drain the rice, return to the pot, cover and let set for 10 minutes off the heat. Discard the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Discard the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the cilantro, lime juice and zest, lemon juice, olive oil and salt stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Cover the pot until you are ready to serve the swordfish kebabs.
- Whisk together the olive oil, cilantro, cayenne, garlic powder, parsley and salt.
- Assemble kebabs: alternate vegetables and swordfish, skewer the ingredients, leaving 2-inches open on each end of the skewer. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are skewed.
- On a baking sheet lined with foil, brush the marinade over the skewers. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Grilling the Swordfish Kebabs
- When the fish and vegetables are ready, preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Clean and then brush the grill grates with vegetable (not olive oil!) oil to prevent the chance of sticking. Place the kebabs on the oiled grate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly charred and grill-marked and the swordfish is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side
- Remove kabobs from the grill and arrange on the serving tray, allowing to rest for a couple minutes before enjoying.Place the two lemon halves cut side down on the grill to char for 3 minutes. Serve alongside the kebabs, with cilantro-lime rice and store purchased naan. I like to warm the Naan or Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread on the grill, this should take only 30 seconds a side.
Your Notes, Tips and Tricks
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.