Swordfish with Salsa Verde

Serving Size: 4
Prep Time:
Total Time:

Because most Italian green sauces are uncooked, they go together quickly in a blender or food processor and are excellent at the last minute on grilled or poached seafood, meats, poultry, and vegetables. Sometimes I spoon some in a thick green stripe down the center of a row of sliced tomatoes. Some cooks use a variety of herbs in salsa verde, but parsley—the flat-leaf Italian kind—is always the primary ingredient. 

When I was at Anna Maria Correale’s house in Vico Equense, Italy, I found a fantastic piece of swordfish at the local fish market, and we grilled it on her patio overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We realized that just the right amount of acid was needed to balance the rich fish and bring a bit of brightness to the herbs. So we used her wonderful Sorrento lemons. I use limes in my version because Sorrento lemons aren’t available here, and limes give a lovely flavor of their own.


  • 4 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless swordfish steak
  • 2 Tbsp chopped jarred green peperoncini
  • 2 Tbsp chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp nonpareil capers, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut in half, with 1 of the halves cut into 4 wedges
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fennel



Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan over high heat. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Rub ½ teaspoon of the olive oil over one side of the fish fillets. Season the fillets with salt and pepper.

Wipe the grill with a kitchen towel. Place all 4 fillets on the grill or grill pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Lift and rotate each fillet 45 degrees. Cook for another 30 seconds and flip. Repeat the grilling and rotating on the other side of the fillets.

Roll out 14 inches of aluminum foil on a work surface and place the fillets in the center. Add 1 tablespoon water and any herb stems remaining from the chopped herbs. Wrap the foil up to seal it loosely, place it in the oven, and cook until the fish is just warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Using the small holes of a box grater or a Microplane zester, grate the zest from one of the lime halves into a bowl. Add the parsley, basil, capers, scallions, peperoncini, and fennel to make your salsa verde. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the zested lime half into the bowl and stir in the juice. Mix in the remaining olive oil.

Remove the swordfish from the foil and divide the fillets among 4 plates. Spoon the salsa verde over the fish and serve with the lime wedges.

Tips: If you come across a nice large piece of swordfish, about 20 ounces, try cooking it whole over slow smoldering heat and slicing it like a roast.