This Basil Pesto Grilled Swordfish is a quick, easy, and flavor-packed main course that’s perfect for barbecues and cookouts!
This post is sponsored by Orca Bay, but as always, all opinions are my own.
The last time I ‘talked swordfish’ here at Champagne Tastes, I was in full “training mode”. I was training, both on the trail and at the gym, for my Grand Canyon backpacking trip, and wanted to switch up my diet with some ‘meatier’ fish.
This past May, after eating tons of protein-packed fish, and completing months of preparation– we laced up our hiking boots, strapped on our backpacks, grabbed our hiking sticks– and headed down the South Kaibab Trail into the Grand Canyon. Seven hours later, after gawking at mountain goats, unbelievable views, and a few (pretty smelly) mule trains, celebrating by sticking our toes in the mighty Colorado River, made camp, and then rested our worn-out feet in Bright Angel Creek right next to our tent.
And then the next morning, before the sun even thought about rising, we packed up our tent and bags using flashlights, and headed back out along the Bright Angel Trail. When we got home, instead of switching up my gym routine (as I intended to), I kept right on canyon-training– because I need to stand inside that beast of a canyon again!
Maybe you’ve been hitting the trails too, or maybe you just love–or want to try– denser, meatier cuts of fish! Swordfish, much like ahi tuna, is usually sold in thick steaks instead of fillets. Swordfish steaks hold up beautifully on the grill, and these Basil Pesto Grilled Swordfish steaks are EASY to cook, and ready in minutes!
Buying + Cooking Swordfish
Are you familiar with swordfish? Quite honestly, the first time I bought it, it was on a whim. Then I got home, stared at it, and thought– “What in the world do I do with this?” If you are also staring in confusion at piece of swordfish, here’s what you need to know.
Swordfish has a firm, solid texture, similar to mahi mahi. If you know a self-proclaimed ‘fish hater’– try feeding them swordfish. It has a mild, delicate flavor, and isn’t ‘fishy’ at all. You’ll probably notice a dark streak across the white meat– that’s the swordfish’s signature “mustache” mark.*
Where can you buy swordfish? I got mine from my favorite seafood supplier– Orca Bay. Orca Bay sells thick, skin-on swordfish steaks in the freezer aisle. As always, Orca Bay provides non-GMO seafood, and transparently labels where and how their fish was caught.
If you want to try Orca Bay, but need help finding their products, check out their store finder, order online(using the promo code: champagnetastes for 15% off!), or try these vendors: Costco, Ingles, Giant Eagle, Market of Choice, Whole Foods (Northwest Region), HyVee, Dierberg’s, Woodman’s, Acme Fresh, Hen House, Price Cutter, Harp’s, Price Chopper- Kansas City. (Note: if you don’t have one of these stores in your local area, but do have a health food store, check there! That’s where I find my Orca Bay fish.)
Making Basil Pesto Grilled Swordfish
For these ‘basil pesto’ steaks, you need basil pesto! You can make your own by packing fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese into a food processor, and then salting to taste. If you prefer, or if you’re out of fresh basil– you can also use pre-made basil pesto from a jar. (That’s what I did here.) When you’re shopping for pesto, try to find a jar that lists ‘basil’ ahead of ‘oil’ on the ingredients list– the flavor will be better!
To make Basil Pesto Grilled Swordfish, start by heating up your grill! While the grill heats up, take your (now thawed) swordfish steaks and pat them dry. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and then generously rub some basil pesto over both sides. Once the grill is hot, set the swordfish steaks on the grill, and let them cook about three minutes per side. Serve these seafood steaks while they’re still hot, and enjoy your thick and meaty cut of swordfish!
*Looking for the “mustache” on these steaks, but can’t see it? That’s because this fish also gets beautifully charred grill marks that can slightly disguise the darker streak. Check out this recipe for a better view of the mustache!
A Note on Seafood Safety and Mercury: Swordfish is delicious, but keep it mind that since it’s at the higher end of the ocean’s food chain, it’s likely to have higher mercury levels than some other fish. This is a fish to enjoy on special occasions, not on a daily basis. Also Note: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice here. If your doctor says you shouldn’t eat certain fish because you’re at a higher risk for getting sick (i.e.– if you’re pregnant or have a different medical condition that makes it unsafe), talk to them, not me, before chowing down on this lovely fish.
Grilled Pesto Swordfish
- 2 swordfish steaks (about 4oz each)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 TB basil pesto
- fresh herbs to garnish, such as diced basil or green onion (optional)
Preheat grill to high.
While grill preheats, pat swordfish steaks dry and season both sides with salt. Rub a thin layer of basil pesto over both sides of the steaks.
Once the grill is hot, grill steaks for 3 minutes. Flip, and grill for 3 more minutes. Serve immediately, adding herb garnish if desired.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.