This large fish with a long, flat, sword-like upper jaw is available wild-caught. It is a nomadic marine fish found in the open ocean right around the Australian coast, hunting near the surface mainly at night but also capable of diving to depths of at least 600m. It is caught mainly by tuna longliners off the east and west coasts. Though similar in appearance to marlin it is easily distinguished by its longer, flattened ‘sword’ and lack of scales.
Available year round, with peaks in June-August.
Size and Weight:
Average 70-150kg and 1.5-3 metres (measured from tip of lower jaw to tail fin), but can grow to about 540kg and 4.5 metres.
Though similar to other billfish, such as marlin, it is the only living member of its family and has no close relatives.
Usually sold as steaks, but also sometimes as cutlets or sashimi. Look for cream-pale pink, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Lay in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
Average yield is 70% from trunks. Has a slightly sweet flavour, high oiliness and moist, firm flesh with fine flakes. Overcooked it quickly becomes dry. The thick skin should be removed. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.
Pan-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.
Goes well with:
Anchovies, capsicum, chilli, citrus, garlic, ginger, green onions, mirin, olives, olive oil, onion, sesame oil, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, wasabi.
Albacore, bonito, striped marlin, tuna.
Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands, as fresh trunks or loins.
Post credit | Sydney Fish Market
My wife and I ordered grilled swordfish. It took some time until it was done, but then we each got a nicely grilled piece about the size of a T Bone steak. Our daughter liked the salad. It might not be the place for a formal dinner but if you are hungry for fish at a reasonable price it’s certainly worth going there.
Stopped by the Fishermen’s Co-op just before the lunchtime crowd and the snapper was excellent. The crumbing was light and the oil fresh. In fact all the fish there looked great. The calamari was fresh and actually squid rings not mashed together to look like a ring. It got very busy quickly after I arrived and seating outside on the covered deck is limited so get in early or takeaway to the beach close by.
Heaps of choice of fresh fish to cook at home. We got the $35 family basket – nice variety, plenty to eat, fast service, great taste. A good way to end a day out in the town before heading home again.
This was fish and chips done to perfection. Thick crunchy fish cocktails, calamari rings, prawn cutlets and chips were all fantastic.