Broiled Swordfish with Browned Butter, Candied Garlic, Roasted Peppers, and Capers

This image courtesy of Mark Ferri

Even if you’ve always claimed to dislike garlic, you might just change your mind after trying this recipe. When raw garlic is parboiled, the taste and consistency change dramatically, becoming almost potato-like. And when cooked slowly in melted browned butter, the sugars in the garlic rise to the surface, becoming candied and utterly delicious. This, combined with capers and sliced roasted peppers, creates a topping for the fish (or grilled veal chops, for that matter) that’s as vibrant to look at as it is satisfying to eat. Be sure to keep the swordfish well chilled until applying heat. This way, the flesh will be better able to withstand a few more minutes of intense heat exposure, ensuring the sexiest caramelized appearance after cooking.

NotesCapers: preferably those packed in balsamic vinegar.

Timing is Everything:

• The fish can be seasoned up to is hours ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.

• The sauce can be made 2 hours ahead and kept on a cool burner, uncovered, until ready to reheat and finish, just before serving.

6 Servings as a main course

Cooking Methodgrilling


Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturebuttery, garlicky, herby, juicy, salty, savory, tangy, tart


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, plus 24 additional whole peeled cloves
  • 1 rounded teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup minced flat leaf Italian parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 swordfish steaks (6 to 8 ounces each), skin and any dark flesh removed
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 rounded cup black oil cured olives
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 2 optional tablespoons
  • 2 each red and yellow bell peppers, roasted, skinned, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or use the brine used to soak the capers)


  1. Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), ¼ cup of the parsley or cilantro, the lemon juice, and a generous amount of black pepper in a nonreactive bowl. Rinse and dry the fish, then lay the pieces in a 13 × 9-inch nonreactive dish in a single layer. Sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Using a pastry brush, paint both sides of the fish liberally with the seasoned olive oil. Cover the dish and keep the fish chilled until ready to cook.

  2. Fill a small saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring it to a boil. Add the whole garlic cloves and boil them for 2 full minutes. Drain the garlic and, using a small paring knife, remove any tough ends. Set the poached garlic aside. To pit the olives, place them, one at a time, on your work surface and lay the blade of a chefs knife flat on top. Push down on the blade firmly, without overdoing it. You’ll feel (and almost hear) a dull “pop” as the olive meat releases from its stone. Slit the olive down one side, then open it to lift out the stone. Slice the olives in half.

  3. Melt the ½ cup butter in a 10- to 12-inch nonreactive skillet over medium heat, and when hot and bubbling, reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook the butter, occasionally swirling the pan, until the milk solids turn light golden brown. Add the parboiled garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic turns golden, being careful not to allow them to burn. Add the sliced peppers, drained capers, and olives and swirl the pan so they intermingle with the garlic. Add the balsamic vinegar and put the pan on a cool burner for now.

  4. If using a gas grill, preheat it to high, covered. If using a charcoal grill, heat the coals and get the food grate hot. If cooking indoors, position the oven rack as close as possible to the heat source and preheat the broiler. (Do not preheat the broiler pan.)

  5. Remove the fish from the refrigerator. If grilling, cook the seasoned fish uncovered, turning once, until the exterior develops golden patches and the flesh is cooked through but remains succulent, about 8 minutes. If broiling, place the swordfish side by side on a cold broiler pan and cook the pieces until starting to turn golden on first side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish and broil until the exterior of the second side is golden and the interior is cooked, about 6 minutes on the second side.

  6. To serve, place the fish either on a warmed serving platter or on individual plates, and reheat the sauce until it starts to sizzle. Add the last 2 tablespoons of butter, if desired, and the remaining ¼ cup of herbs and, when the new butter is just melted and the mixture is hot, spoon the sauce over the fish and serve.

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Wow! amazing flavor that goes really well with the meaty swordfish. I cut the butter in half, but otherwise, the recipie is great!


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