Market Name: Swordfish
Scientific Name: Xiphias gladius
Common Name: Broadbilled swordfish, broadbill, espada, emperado
Flavor: Mild/Moderate
Texture: Firm

There is only one species of swordfish, Xiphias gladius. This nonschool-ing fish roams temperate and tropical seas worldwide and is hunted by more than 30 nations. Swordfish harvesting is governed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. U.S. Atlantic fishermen operate under a strictly enforced ICCAT quota, but not all ICCAT nations observe their quotas. Swordfish grow to over 1,000 pounds but average 50 to 200 pounds. Most are caught by longline, the rest by gillnet and a very small amount by harpoon. The fishery is conducted at night (except the harpoon fishery). The best catches from the longline fleet come on the full moon, when nights are bright and swordfish are feeding heavily. Thus, the best catches occur during the final quarter of the moon. The oppo-site is true for gillnet fisheries. The darker the night, the better the fishing (because sword fish can’t see the net). Generally speaking, longlined fish are considered the best. Frozen-at-sea swordfish, known as “clipper,” is often a high-quality product and less expensive than fresh sword, which can be less fresh than FAS.

Product Profile:
Swordfish is moist and flavorful with a slightly sweet taste. Steaks have a moderately high oil content and a firm, meaty texture. The flesh color can vary from white and ivory to pink and orange. Color variation does not indi-cate quality, and all swordfish turns beige after cooking. Swordfish steaks have a whorling pattern and shouldn’t be confused with the mako shark’s more circular meat pattern. Swordfish also has a smooth skin; mako’s is rough.

You Should Know:
Because swordfish has high levels of methylmercury, the FDA advises pregnant and nursing women, women of childbearing age and young children to avoid eating swordfish meat.

Cooking Tips:
Any recipe that works for tuna will work for swordfish. While traditionally swordfish is served baked with a slice of lemon, more chefs are preparing it in ways that stretch it, like swordfish kebabs with dipping sauces. Sword fish is excellent for marinating and grilling. It can also be easily cooked from a frozen state. For moist grilled swordfish, select steaks that are at least 1 1/4 inches thick. Baste with olive oil and lemon juice before and during cooking.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Grill,Smoke

Substitutions: Halibut, Mako shark, Yellowfin tuna

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: H&G, Sides, or “halves” Loins, or “quarters” Steak-ready loins Wheels, Chunks, slabs or sections, Steaks
Frozen: H&G, Sides, Loins, Steak-ready loins, Wheels, Chunks, IQF steaks

Global Supply: