Pesce Spada al Salmoriglio (Swordfish with Salmoriglio Sauce)

Salmoriglio is a Sicilian sauce that adds great flavor to fish. It can be used with different types of fish but with swordfish the combination is perfect. The fish must be grilled and as for all seafood must not be over cooked. This is the most classic version and the sauce is gently heated a “bagno maria” for about 10 minutes.

Cooking time about 20 minutes.

Preparation about 15 minutes.


Serving 4 people



  1. 4 swordfish steaks
  2. 6/7 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
  3. Juice of 3 lemons freshly squeezed
  4. 2 springs of fresh Italian oregano
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. A handful of fresh Italian parsley
  7. Salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a pot add water and bring it to boil
  2. Finely chop garlic, parsley, and oregano, keeping them separated
  3. In a smaller pot suspended on top of the bigger pot with the boiling water (the sauce must cook with the vapor of the boiling water) add 6 ounce of olive oil
  4. After the olive oil is warm, add the lemon juice and gently whip the two ingredients until they form a homogeneous emulsion
  5. Add garlic, oregano and parsley one at the time and mix them together
  6. Some like to add also salt to the sauce, I prefer to use salt only on the swordfish
  7. Check the sauce for taste and consistency and see what it needs: if it’s a bit too thick or too tart, add some more olive oil. If it’s a bit too bland, add some more salt (if used in first place). If you want it tarter, add a bit more lemon juice. And so on. You can play with it until you reach a balance that appeals to you. The sauce should, in all events, be very flavorful.
  8. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes
  9. Meanwhile the sauce is cooking rub a bit of olive oil on your steaks, just enough so they glisten, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper
  10. Set the sauce aside in a bowl and turn to your swordfish.
  11. Grill (broil if a grill is not available) the swordfish for 3 to 4 minutes for each side, if filets are thicker than a finger add a couple of more minutes. Do not overcook.
  12. Transfer the swordfish in a large platter, do not add the sauce on top, let everybody serve themselves
  13. Serve immediately with salmoriglio sauce on the side and toasted crusty bread
  14. Buon appetito (enjoy your meal)

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14 Oct 2018

By Vito Russo