Pan-roasted swordfish with chermoula recipe

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Swordfish is a great fish for pan-roasting since its sturdy flesh takes well to flavorful browning, but it can be a challenge to keep the fish from drying out. We didn’t want to compromise on either texture or flavor, so we set out to develop a technique for cooking swordfish that would produce perfectly cooked and tender fish with good browning. A combination of pan-searing and oven-roasting proved best. To be sure the swordfish steaks wouldn’t overcook, we seared one side in a hot skillet, then turned the steaks over before placing them in the oven to finish cooking. When they were done, the steaks were browned but still moist inside. To take our fish to the next level, we needed a flavorful sauce that could stand up to the meaty fish. For inspiration, we turned to Moroccan chermoula, a traditional marinade or sauce made with hefty amounts of cilantro, lemon, and garlic that packs a big flavor punch. To make ours, we simply tossed our ingredients in a food processor and whirred everything together until smooth. If swordfish isn’t available, you can substitute four 6-to 8-ounce halibut steaks, 1 to 1½ inches thick; be sure to adjust the cooking time in step 2 as needed. You will need a 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet for this recipe.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 (6-to 8-ounce) skinless swordfish steaks, 1¼ to 1½ inches thick
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
    For the Chermoula
  1. Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed; set aside for serving.
  2. For the Fish
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat swordfish dry with paper towels, sprinkle with cumin, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place swordfish in skillet and cook until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes.
  5. Gently flip swordfish using 2 spatulas and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve with chermoula.

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