How to Sous Vide the Best Swordfish Ever
Three times this summer, I grilled fresh swordfish, and only once was I thrilled with the outcome. The other two times, I was disappointed with the results. Was it luck the one time? Could it be the fish itself? Or perhaps my cooking technique?
I purchase my fish from one of two reputable fish markets where I know the fishmongers and trust they only sell me quality fish. I know this because there have been times I tried to buy a particular fish, and they “gently” steered me away from purchasing it. I could be naive, but I’m a good customer, so they treat me fairly.
My cooking technique is typically the same. I often grill swordfish on a clean, hot, oiled gas grill set on medium-high for 3 to 6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steaks.
I use my finger to press down on the swordfish steak to test for "doneness," yes, I know this is not the most scientific way to determine when fish is perfectly cooked.
It would be much better to use an instant thermometer to ensure the fish reaches an internal temperature of at least 130°F. The USDA recommends cooking all Fish and shellfish to reach an internal temperature of 145°F to kill harmful bacteria, but I think that temperature will give you over-cooked, chewy swordfish.
Another way would be to stick a fork in the thickest part of the steak at a 45-degree angle, give a slight twist, and pull out some of the meat. You want the meat to be easy to flake and no longer translucent.
So What’s The Problem?
I am cautious when grilling swordfish and using the abovementioned techniques, but only 1 of the 3 attempts this summer turned out OK. It wasn’t like the fish was inedible; my wife and daughters thought it was good, but it was not great to me.
It wasn’t dried out from overcooking or undercooked, which, to me is worse than overcooking. The texture was just a little “mushy,” not as firm as I expect swordfish to be. The flavor was good, but when the texture of fish isn’t perfect, it ruins the experience, in my opinion.
Sous Vide To The Rescue
I decided to cook some pieces of swordfish sous vide and finish on the grill to see if my results differed. And they were. The sous vide swordfish steaks were the best of the summer, with perfect texture and no worries about being overcooked or under-cooked. They were just right.
I used some fresh basil and oregano from our garden to season the steaks during their bath, but fresh mint or rosemary leaves would be great, too. Next time, I’ll add a little minced garlic and some fresh lemon zest and see how it turns out.
In the Comments section below, let me know your favorite herb and spice combinations.
My Best Sous Vide Swordfish
- Set up your sous vide equipment to get the water to the desired temperature.
- For sous vide swordfish, I’ve seen temperature recommendations ranging from 120°F to 145°F. I went with 130°F knowing I was going to follow up with a couple of minutes on a hot grill.
- Season your swordfish with salt and pepper and place into a vacuum seal bag if you have a vacuum sealer or large zip lock bag if you don’t. We have a vacuum sealer and have lots of uses for it in our kitchen but zip lock bags work well too.
- Drizzle in some olive oil into the bag and then drop in the twigs of fresh oregano and basil
Vacuum and Seal the Bag
- If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to remove the air and seal the bag. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer and are using zip lock bags, use your mouth or water bath method to remove the air. (See video below)
- I don’t have a post on how to get the air out of the zip lock bag but it’s easy. Just seal the zip lock leaving an inch at the end and suck the air out of the bag and quickly seal it with your fingers.
- When the water comes to temperature, place the bag(s) into the water and clip it to the side of the container to keep it from moving around. I use photographer clips I picked up on amazon.
- Set your timer for 30 minutes and finish preparing any side dishes you are serving with the fish.
- About 10 minutes before the swordfish is done with its bath, heat up your grill to medium-high heat. Be sure your grill is clean and oiled before adding the swordfish to it.
- When the 30 minutes are up, remove the bags from the sous vide water, cut open and remove the swordfish. Toss the bag along with the basil and oregano.
- The swordfish should be coated with oil from the bag but I still like to add a very thin layer of oil to the grill to keep the fish from sticking. Grill the swordfish on one side for about 1 to 2 minutes to get those nice grill marks.You really only need to grill one side for presentation since the fish is already perfectly cooked.
- Plate the swordfish along with any sides and garnish with cilantro, parsley, pickled shallots or whatever else you have on hand.
Some of My Favorite Seafood Recipes
- Salmon Curry with Coconut Miso Recipe
- Grilled Salmon Delight: Perfectly Cooked Catch of the Day
- Everything You Need to Know About Ceviche
- Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Fennel Recipe
- Classic Tuna Casserole with Dill Recipe
- Shrimp Sauce Recipe
- Shrimp and Sweet Potato Curry Recipe
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops Over Coconut Curry Lentils Recipe