Swordfish

Xiphias gladius

Other names: Broadbill swordfish.

Family: Xiphiidae (swordfishes).

Description:

This large fish with a long, flat, sword-like upper jaw is available wild-caught. It is a nomadic marine fish found in the open ocean right around the Australian coast, hunting near the surface mainly at night but also capable of diving to depths of at least 600m. It is caught mainly by tuna longliners off the east and west coasts. Though similar in appearance to marlin it is easily distinguished by its longer, flattened ‘sword’ and lack of scales.

Season: Available year round, with peaks in June-August.

Size and Weight: Average 70-150kg and 1.5-3 metres (measured from tip of lower jaw to tail fin), but can grow to about 540kg and 4.5 metres.

Price: Medium-high priced.

Relations:

Though similar to other billfish, such as marlin, it is the only living member of its family and has no close relatives.

To Buy:

Usually sold as steaks, but also sometimes as cutlets or sashimi. Look for cream-pale pink, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Lay in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 70% from trunks. Has a slightly sweet flavour, high oiliness and moist, firm flesh with fine flakes. Overcooked it quickly becomes dry. The thick skin should be removed. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.

Cooking Methods:

Pan-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.

Goes well with:

Anchovies, capsicum, chilli, citrus, garlic, ginger, green onions, mirin, olives, olive oil, onion, sesame oil, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, wasabi.

Alternatives:

Albacore, bonito, striped marlin, tuna.

Imports:

Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands, as fresh trunks or loins.

Recipes:

Balsamic-Marinated Swordfish Steaks with Seared Vegetables > 
Swordfish Crudo >  
Tandoori-style Swordfish with Mint & Yoghurt Sauce >