Are you looking for an amazing fish recipe?  If yes, then you need to try our pan-seared swordfish with olives and capers!  The whole dish can be made in under 30 minutes.  That’s what’s great about making most fish dishes!  This is an adaptation of a Sicilian recipe I’ve had in many New York Italian restaurants.

Pan seared swordfish steaks with olives and capers featured long image.

Some variations on the sauce in this recipe include the addition of pine nuts, raisins, and anchovies. 

I think the simple fresh flavors, kind of like what we used in our baccala alla napoletana recipe or puttanesca sauce, go really well with the pan-seared swordfish but feel free to add any ingredients you like.

Great quality ingredients are where it all starts for this Sicilian-style swordfish. 

Find out what’s really fresh from your fishmonger.  Swordfish is obviously the first choice, but this recipe works equally well with Tuna.  It’s always nice to have a plan B when going shopping!

How to make pan-seared swordfish with olives and capers

  1. Pic of garlic, parsley, tomatoes, capers, and olives.
  2. Roughly chop the olives.  Mince the garlic.  Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Pan seared swordfish recipe collage of chopped tomatoes, olives, and garlic. Also sauteing of garlic in pan.

  1. Chop the tomatoes as shown.
  2. Saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes on medium to medium-low in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add the olives and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and saute for 1 minute more.

Pan seared swordfish steaks process images of making the sauce in the pan.

  1. Turn off the heat and add the capers, parsley, and pepper flakes if using them.
  2. Plate the sauce in a bowl and wipe the pan with some paper towels.  The pan will be used for the next step of pan searing the swordfish.
  3. Pat the swordfish steaks dry with a paper towel.
  4. Season the steaks with salt and pepper – about 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.

  1. Heat 1/4 cup of regular olive oil in the pan on medium heat.  Place the swordfish in the pan and move around in the beginning to assure the fish won’t stick.  Basically, let the oil get under the fish.
  2. After 3 minutes flip the swordfish carefully and cook for 2-3 minutes more until done.  They should feel firm to the touch.  Remove the swordfish and plate.  Serve the olive and caper Sicilian sauce all over the fish.

Swordfish substitutes

My top swordfish substitutes are tuna, mako shark, and salmon in that order.  Swordfish is a very meaty fish.  It has an almost steak-like quality and is very satisfying.  It works well in many ways that other fish simply cannot.  Kebabs are a prime example of one of those ways.

Mako shark and Tuna have a similar texture to swordfish.

Salmon is not as robust and firm so that would be my last choice of the bunch.

Can swordfish be eaten raw/rare?

While it can be eaten raw or rare, I don’t recommend it.  Do you know why?  I rarely see it in Japanese restaurants.  I think that is a major tell.  Read this Quora info on Why is shark or swordfish not used for sushi?

Now I do like to cook the swordfish a tiny bit under-cooked.  Basically medium-well.  If an oily fish like swordfish or tuna is cooked well done it will release more oils and take on a more fishy taste.

More ways to cook swordfish

The grill is excellent for swordfish steaks or kebabs.

For this particular recipe, everything can be made outside. 

Just bring all the chopped ingredients to the grill with a heavy-duty pan and make the sauce in the same manner over medium heat.

When that’s finished brush the swordfish steaks with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and grill them over medium heat.  The cooking time should be roughly 6 minutes total for 1″ thick steaks.

Another easy swordfish recipe is to simply broil in the oven with oil, salt, and pepper.  I like to put the swordfish steaks in a cast iron pan and broil for 2-3 minutes per side.

When they are finished, a super simple caper, lemon butter sauce can be whipped up in the pan in 1 minute with no heat. 

I’m getting hungry thinking of that dish – that will be another recipe I write up on here at some point!

Pan seared swordfish with olives and capers close up image.

This is an excellent Mediterranean fish recipe that we really hope you enjoy!

More seafood recipes you might enjoy

If you’ve enjoyed this pan-seared swordfish recipe or any recipe on this site please let us know in the comments.

We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well. Thanks!

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Pan Seared Swordfish With Olives And Capers

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 17 minutes
Servings: 4
A super easy Italian fish recipe!  Pan seared swordfish steaks are topped with an amazing 5 minute olive, caper, garlic and plum tomato sauce.


  • 1.5 pounds swordfish steaks
  • 2 large plum tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup light or regular olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup chopped olives


  • Mince the garlic.  Rough chop the olives.  Chop the parsley.  
  • Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds.  Chop the tomatoes.
  • Saute the garlic on medium to medium low heat in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the olives and saute for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and saute for 1 minute more.
  • Turn off the heat and add the parsley, capers, and optional crushed red pepper.  Place the olive and caper sauce in a bowl.
  • Wipe down the pan and heat the regular olive oil on medium.
  • Pat the swordfish steaks dry with a paper towel and season with the salt and pepper.  
  • Place the steaks in the hot pan and cook for 3 minutes per side.
  • Remove the steaks and plate.  Spoon the olive and caper sauce all over the swordfish.  Serve the remaining sauce on the side for anyone who would like extra.  Enjoy!


Tuna and Mako Shark are great substitutes for this recipe.
The crushed red pepper flakes are totally optional.


Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 574mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Phil says:

    5 stars
    Both my wife and i Ioved this dish. Used both green and black olives for a slightly different taste. A simple and very tasty dish. Thanks.

    1. Jim says:

      I’m glad you both enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Paige says:

    Hi! Any suggestions for something to use besides olives? I don’t like olives

    1. Jim says:

      I would just omit the olives and maybe add a bit more tomatoes and capers. Enjoy!

  3. Peachy Monson says:

    5 stars

    1. Jim says:

      Thanks very much! I’m Happy you enjoyed it!

  4. Gayle says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe with just 3 teaspoons if olive oil and it was delicious!

    1. James says:

      Thanks! I guess I always err on the side of extra olive oil. So glad you enjoyed it!