Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)

Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)

This blackened swordfish made in the oven is delicate, flaky and healthy. The blackening seasoning imparts an explosion of flavors onto the mild, slightly sweet swordfish steak. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make, including prep time, so there’s no big time commitment. This recipe is one my my favorites. I think you’ll agree!

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Blackened swordfish is a great fish recipe for winter – or any season for that matter!

I love fish pretty much any time of year.

Why Blackened Swordfish?

I’m making this healthy blackened swordfish oven recipe, partly because I haven’t done a blackened fish recipe yet on SeasonalCookbook.com.

And partly to share with you one of my favorite (and easiest) ways to prepare fish!

But, mainly, because it’s delicious!

What Does Blackened Mean?

Blackening or Blackened (past tense) is a cooking technique whereby a combination of spices is liberally applied to the topmost surface of fish or chicken.

The purpose of adding this type of seasoning is to infuse a medley of flavors onto the underlying protein.

Once the blackening season is ‘cooked’ onto the fish (or chicken), a very thin, dark crust forms on the surface where the blackening seasoning was applied.

Blackened Swordfish
Blackened Swordfish Fillet on Plate – YUM!

The resulting dish is said to have been blackened.

Why Blackened Swordfish In The Oven Versus In A Skillet?

Look, I love pan-seared fish recipes made on the stove-top in a skillet.

In fact I did a Pan-Seared Salmon With Creamy Dill Sauce in a skillet and it’s a great way to prepare fish.

I even did a deep dive into the Best Nonstick Pans for Cooking Fish.

But there is something that appeals to me about the no-pressure method of baking fish in the oven.

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Oven baked fish cook so evenly and with very little effort.

I love how delicious swordfish steaks – or any fish – made in the oven, taste.

Oven-cooked fish are also a healthy alternative to pan-seared fished cooked in a skillet, since the pan-searing process sometimes requires the addition of cooking oil.

I already made an Oven Baked Rockfish with Lemon Butter and now wanted to try my hand at blackened swordfish in the oven.

I really hope you like this dish as much as I do!

But, before we get into the recipe, let’s discuss the seasoning a bit.

What Is In Blackening Seasoning?

Blackening seasoning usually contains a combination of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, as well as a mix of other spices.

Blackened Swordfish with Lemon Wedges
Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe) with Lemon Wedges – Food Closeup!

The combination of these spices, as well as the amount of each spice used, can drastically change the flavor of the underlying protein to which the seasoning is applied.

For this recipe, I simply used a store-bought blackening seasoning similar to this one found on Amazon.

If you prefer to make your own blackening seasoning, please check out this Homemade Blackening Seasoning Recipe from Julie over at TableForTwoBlog.com.

What Gives Blackened Swordfish Its Dark Outer Color?

The combination of browned milk solids (from cooking the butter) combined with the charred blackening spices (from cooking the seasoning) is what imparts that lovely, dark color onto this blackened swordfish.

Blackened Swordfish
Blackening Gives the Outer Layer of Swordfish a Deep, Dark Color

Technically, blackened fish (or chicken) doesn’t usually turn completely black.

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The color of Blackened Swordfish can range from light brown to deep red, to dark brown to almost black.

The final color of blackened food depends on the combination of spices used in the blackening seasoning.

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For example, lots of cayenne pepper will give blackened fish a more reddish color.

Lots of black pepper, a main ingredient in many blackening seasonings, will turn your blackened swordfish a darker color.

What Does Blackened Swordfish Taste Like?

Swordfish is a mild, flaky, white fish that is subtly sweet.

When a blackening seasoning like this is applied and cooked on the swordfish, there is an additional layer of complexity added to the flavor profile.

Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)
I LOVE Food Photos That You Can Climb Into – LOL

Everyone experiences flavors differently, but (to me) blackened swordfish tastes bright, slightly peppery, mildly spicy, a bit earthy and a bit zesty.

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The way this dish will taste to you will vary and depends on what blackening seasoning you decide to use (or make).

The taste also varies depending on which spices are included, as well as the amount of each spice used in your seasoning.

Why You Will Love This Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)

This Blackened Swordfish recipe checks all the boxes of what I consider the perfect fish recipe to be.

It is:

  • Healthy
  • Requires Minimal Prep Time
  • Quick to Cook
  • Extremely Flavorful
  • Uses Very Few Ingredients

One of the things I strive for when deciding which recipes to share with you on SeasonalCookbook.com, is that – in addition to being healthy and delicious – I want them to include the fewest ingredients possible.

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The reason for this is because I encourage anyone reading this recipe to try it for themselves.

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And I know how overwhelmed I used to get when considering recipes that use a ton of ingredients.

I was always concerned that maybe those recipes were too complicated for me.

Blackened Swordfish with Lemon Wedges
These Blackened Swordfish Photos Are Making Me Hungry!

Or maybe I wouldn’t be able to find all those exact same ingredients.

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I never want you to feel overwhelmed when considering trying one of my SeasonalCookbook.com recipes, yourself!

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What Other Fish Tastes Good Blackened?

In general, larger fish that can be served as thick fillets (or steaks) are the preferred fish for blackening.

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Fish that have a very mild to mildly sweet taste, with white flaky flesh, are my preferred choices because their taste complements, but doesn’t compete, with the blackening seasoning.

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In addition to swordfish, other species of fish that are prime candidates to serve blackened are:

  • Tuna
  • Catfish
  • Redfish
  • Mahi-Mahi

These fish can all be filleted into good-sized steaks.

Additionally, the fish above all have a mild taste, white flesh that flakes easily and are (mostly) readily available in most areas.

Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe) – The Ingredients

Some of the Most Delicious and Healthy Recipes Use the Fewest Ingredients!

As with many of the seasonal recipes you’ll find on SeasonalCookbook.com, this Blackened Swordfish fits the bill of not requiring many ingredients.

You will need:

As I like to say, it doesn’t matter if you have each of the exact ingredients I use in these recipes – you can still cook something delicious.

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Of course, in this recipe you NEED the swordfish and some type of blackening seasoning to create a similar dish.

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And if your goal is to create the exact same recipe I am sharing, then please try to get as many similar ingredients to mine, as possible!

Recipe Equipment Needed

Barely any Recipe Equipment Needed – I Assume You Have an Oven!

There is also very little recipe equipment needed to make this oven-blackened swordfish.

Really, all you need is:

The sauce pot is handy for melting a bit of butter.

And a sharp knife will make slicing the lemons a breeze!

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The casserole dish is my go-to piece of cookware for baking just about anything in the oven – especially fish.

And a good spatula can help remove the swordfish fillet from the casserole dish once it is finished cooking.

Melting The Butter

Just add a few tablespoons of butter into a small sauce pot and heat over Low Heat on the stove-top.

As much as I love photos of melted butter, I don’t think this step requires one!

Slicing The Lemons

Sliced Lemons Smell so Fragrant and Bright!

I like to slice my lemons, beforehand, so that they are ready to go later.

All this step requires is a sharp kitchen knife (and some care)!

Treating The Casserole Dish with Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Spraying Non-stick Cooking Spray Onto the Base of my Casserole Dish.

This is a simple, but sometimes overlooked step.

Simply spray a few shots of olive oil based non-stick cooking spray onto the base of your casserole dish before adding the swordfish filet.

Even when using aluminum foil, I’ll still spray a bit of non-stick cooking spray to the foil before placing my fish fillet in the foil.

Casserole Dish Treated with Nonstick Cooking Spray

I didn’t use aluminum foil in this recipe, because I feel like the swordfish cooks more evenly when in direct contact with the casserole dish.

But there is nothing wrong with using aluminum foil – it certainly makes the clean-up easier!

Preparing The Swordfish Filet (Steak)

Swordfish Fillet Prepped and Ready for Baking

To prepare your swordfish fillet before cooking in the oven, there are a few necessary steps.

Now that your casserole dish has been treated with non-stick cooking spray, place your uncooked swordfish steak in the casserole dish.

Move the swordfish around gently to fully coat the bottom of the steak with the non-stick spray.

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This will make it easier to remove the fish once it’s done cooking.

Next, season your swordfish fillet lightly with sea salt and black pepper – this is optional since many blackening seasonings already contain these two ingredients.

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Brush the top of your swordfish fillet lightly with butter (as you can see from the photo above, I did NOT follow this advice!)

My food brush was missing in action and I had a recipe to prepare, soooo…..

The butter on top helps the blackening seasoning adhere to the outer part of the swordfish fillet.

And the brown milk solids that form as the butter cooks help give this blackened swordfish its nice, dark color.

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Adding The Blackening Seasoning

The last step – and most important – in preparing your swordfish fillet before placing in the oven is adding the seasoning.

Blackening Seasoning Added

Apply a generous amount of blackening seasoning to the top of the fillet, such that the entire surface area of the fillet is covered (see photo above).

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We are now almost ready to begin baking our swordfish!

What Is The Best Oven Temperature For Baking Swordfish Fillets?

Swordfish fillets (or steaks) are typically thicker than the fillets of more delicate fish such as flounder or rockfish.

The reason is because swordfish are a larger species of fish.

As a result, for swordfish to reach the length and size to be harvested, they simply must be bigger than other (smaller) fish.

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The larger size of swordfish results in bigger, thicker fillets that must be cooked at slightly higher temperatures and for slightly longer than other white, flaky fish.

Like flounder, or cod, for example.

The ideal temperature for baking 1/2 pound, 1/2″ thick swordfish steaks is 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Long To Bake Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe) At 420 Degrees?

So much depends on the size and thickness of the fillets you use.

I only used a single swordfish fillet that was just over 1/2 pound and a bit over 1/2″ thick.

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In my (admittedly old) oven, 25 minutes was the perfect amount of time to cook a single swordfish steak at 420 Degrees F.

Naturally, if you have larger and thicker fillets or you cook more than one steak at a time, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

My recommendation is to adjust the time – if using larger swordfish fillets OR two fillets instead of one – but not the temperature.

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A quick rule of thumb is to add 5 minutes of cooking time for each additional 1/2 inch thick, half-pound swordfish steak.

At 420 degrees Fahrenheit, even thick fish steaks will cook evenly without drying out.

Any temperatures higher than that and you run the risk of your fish drying out or over cooking if left in the oven for too long.

If you are in a huge rush, you can probably increase the temp to 425 F, but that’s the max I would recommend.

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How Do I Know When My Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe) Is Done?

Your swordfish is done when the white, internal part of the fillet becomes fully opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

The picture below demonstrates what a perfectly cooked swordfish fillet looks like on the inside.

Completely Cooked Swordfish Fillet Is Opaque and Flakes Easily with a Fork

One last thing before we delve into the exact recipe for making blackened swordfish in the oven.

This recipe is only as good as the quality and freshness of the swordfish steaks you use!

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Luckily, I live near the Jersey Shore and am able to buy extremely fresh seafood.

You can certainly use frozen swordfish steaks, but allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Now, let’s get on to the recipe!

Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)

5.0 from 10 votes
Recipe by Bill Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

3

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

310

kcal

Blackened Swordfish cooked in the oven is a healthy, easy recipe that anyone can make in under 30 minutes. The blackening seasoning adds a lot of depth to the flavor of the mild and subtly sweet swordfish.

(NOTE: I had two 1/2 lb swordfish fillets and one fillet was sufficient for my wife and I to split. In general, a single 1/2 lb fillet per person is appropriate, however. Also, I have included Amazon links to some of the basic ingredients so you can buy these online. I highly recommend using fresh swordfish fillets if you can get them).

Ingredients

Directions

  • Below is an overview of what each step of the cooking process looked like for the Blackened Swordfish Recipe
  • Pre-heat Oven to 420 Degrees F.
  • As the oven is pre-heating I like to take my fillets out of the refrigerator and just let them acclimate to room temperature for a few minutes.
  • Add two large tablespoons of low fat butter to a small sauce pot like this one and place on the stove top over LOW Heat.
  • As the butter melts, prepare the casserole dish by treating (spraying) it with some nonstick cooking spray – I really LOVE this olive-oil based nonstick cooking spray.
  • Next, place your swordfish fillet(s) – one at a time if using two fillets – into the casserole dish. Slide each fillet back and forth gently to evenly spread the nonstick spray around and fully coat the base of the swordfish steak.
  • (Optional) Season the swordfish fillet with 3-4 pinches of sea salt and 3-4 pinches of black pepper. I consider this step optional, because some blackening seasonings already contain salt and pepper. I typically DO season my fillets with salt and pepper beforehand – mainly out of habit!
  • Your butter should be melted in the sauce pot by now. Using a food brush, gently brush melted butter onto the outer (top) portion of each swordfish fillet. Make sure that the entire surface area of the fillet is completely covered with butter. The melted butter helps the blackening seasoning stick to the fillet.
  • Lightly sprinkle 6 heaping tablespoons of blackening seasoning for fish onto the top of the swordfish fillet. It is important that the entire surface of the fillet be fully covered by the seasoning. This enhances the flavor of this dish and helps seal in the juices, creating a nice, moist, fish fillet once cooked. (NOTE: If you find you need more than 6 tablespoons of seasoning to fully coat the top of the fillet, that is fine!). Your fillet is now ready for the oven.
  • If you haven’t done so already, slice two large lemons in half. I slice the two halves of one lemon into smaller slices for garnishing the fish, later. The other lemon, I leave halved. I then use the halved-lemons for squeezing lemon juice onto the fish steaks once they are done cooking.
  • Bake the swordfish fillet in the oven for 25 minutes at 420 degrees F (one steak). Add 5 minutes of cook time if making two swordfish fillets.
  • If you are not sure whether your fish is done, simply test it. Your fillet should flake easily with a fork and the flesh should be a bright, opaque white color (see photo below)Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)

Notes

  • A single half-pound, 1/2″ thick swordfish steak was enough for my wife and I to share, however one swordfish steak of this approximate size is appropriate for one adult.
  • The final color of your blackened swordfish fillet will depend on the amount of butter used, cooking time, and the combination of spices in the particular blackening seasoning you use.
  • I like blackening spices that contain a bit of cayenne pepper like this one.
  • Although you can always make your own blackening seasoning with very little effort, I prefer using pre-made blackening seasonings because I find they are just easier!
  • Make sure that your blackening seasoning fully coats the topmost portion of the swordfish fillet. You should NOT see any part of the fish through the seasoning.
  • Use fresh swordfish steaks if you can get them, but frozen fillets work too. Just place frozen steaks in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before you plan on making them, so they begin the thawing process.
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Swordfish Fillets Vs Swordfish Steaks – What’s The Difference?

You’ve probably noticed me use swordfish ‘fillet’ and swordfish ‘steak’ interchangeably throughout this article.

That’s because there is no difference between a swordfish steak and a swordfish fillet.

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Since swordfish are large fish, they produce heavy, dense fillets commonly referred to as steaks.

Tuna is another large fish whose fillets are often referred to as ‘steaks’.

What Can I Do If I Can’t Get Fresh Swordfish Fillets Near Me?

Don’t worry!

This recipe still works and tastes great with frozen swordfish, but I don’t recommend going directly from frozen into the oven.

Fish that is flash-frozen while still fresh can also taste delicious – it just requires a bit more prep time prior to cooking.

If you only have access to frozen swordfish fillets, simply place them in the refrigerator 24 hours before you intend to use them.

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Then, about 1/2 hour before you are going to cook them, check whether they have fully thawed in the refrigerator.

If they have, great.

If not, just take them out of the refrigerator and allow them to continue to thaw for about 30 minutes and you should be good to go.

What To Serve With Blackened Swordfish?

Large swordfish fillets are meals in, and of, themselves and are also satisfyingly filling.

However, if you are going to make a side dish I recommend something that is light and will taste good along with the blackened flavor of the fish.

Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)
The White Flaky Flesh Of Blackened Swordfish Is Delicious!

Serving baked swordfish fillets over white rice or quinoa works nicely.

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Another idea is to serve Blackened Swordfish with a light side-salad with a citrus dressing.

Don’t Be Intimated By Fish

As I said in my Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter RecipeDon’t Be Intimated By Fish!

If you haven’t checked out that recipe, please do so!

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My point here is that baking fish in the oven is one of the easiest and least intimidating ways to cook fish.

I find this technique much easier than pan-searing or grilling fish, to be honest.

But baking fish in the oven should not be intimidating – try it once and I think you’ll agree!

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What Did You Think About This Blackened Swordfish (Oven Recipe)?

I always want to know what YOU think of my recipes.

Have you tried making this Blackened Swordfish recipe yourself? If so, how did it turn out?

Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about this dish by posting your comments in the COMMENTS SECTION below!

One Last Look!

Happy Cooking!

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2 Comments

  1. This was one of the easiest and most delicious blackened swordfish recipes I have ever found online!

    Your instructions were perfect!

    Pamela

  2. Thanks so much, Pamela!

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this Blackened Swordfish Oven recipe and found my instructions easy to follow. Please stop by again and check out some of my other recipes and let me know what you think.

    Bill

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