Swordfish, a classic Greek gastronomy pleasure

Swordfish is a fast-growing giant that weighs 24 kilos at the age of one year, beefing up to 140 kilos the next and can reach 650 kilos when fully grown. Xiphias gladius, commonly known as swordfish can reach up to 7 meters in length. Its “sword,” which accounts for about a third of its length, is its only weapon, as the adult swordfish has no teeth. Extremely aggressive, it is known to attack whales, dolphins, sharks and even small boats (they can pierce 10 centimeters of wood) at speeds of up to 65 kilometers an hour.

In Greek waters they are most plentiful in the sea off Methana and Poros, south of Kythera, off Halkidiki and Karpathos, and around Lemnos. Fresh swordfish in the market is exclusively Greek. Fishing this species is banned between October 1st and January 1st. Usually sold in fillets, prices range from 16-18 euros per kilo. The best way to enjoy swordfish is grilled, but becarefulnot to dry it out. Cubed and skewered with onions, tomatoes and sprinkled with basil and oregano, cooking requires no more than 10-12 minutes, but keep turning and basting. Ask your fishmonger to cut them in thicker slices of about 3,5 to 4 centimeters for skewering to obtain larger cubes.

Last chance. Get it fresh before the annual ban on swordfish fishing starts on October 1st.

Firm swordfish fillets lend themselves to a variety of recipes – while the season lasts.
For grilled marinated swordfish you’ll need:

  • 3 sliced garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • Finely chopped leaves of 6 parsley sprigs

Mix the wine, gin, pepper, thyme, rosemary and half a cup of water in a large bowl. Place the fillets in the marinade so that they are covered and leave in the refrigerator for
about three hours, turning every 45 minutes. Strain the fillets, keeping the liquid aside and saute in the oil with one of the garlic cloves, sliced, for one or two minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the rest of the garlic to the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half. Put the fillets into a baking dish and grill them, basting with the sauce, for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the temperature.

Serve garnished with the sauce and the chopped parsley.