16 July 2013

Pan-Seared Lemon Pepper Swordfish With Orecchiette and Peas

The dog days of summer are here and it seems they're here to stay for a good while.  All the cool smoothies, iced tea, cold salads, popsicles, chilled pies, and cold cocktails certainly help keep us comfortable, but one still needs a hot meal now and then. Standing over a hot stove, though, holds little appeal!  I have fallen to the strategy of doing some prep work on dinner early in the morning while the house is cool and then lounging through the heat of the day. Once the sun goes down and the house cools off a bit, I am ready to tackle dinners. They still need to be fast and easy, though.

Yesterday, we shucked peas and marinated swordfish early in the day. Then, in the time it took to boil pasta water and cook orecchiette, we seared the fish, sauteed onions and mushrooms, steamed green beans for a side and put together a nice platter of warm sustenance ... all the while sipping on chilled Sauvignon blanc. My kitchen timer allows me to put things in the pan, crank up the heat and walk away from the hot stove ...when the little dinger dings,  I dash in and away after tossing things, flipping fish, and only stand in the steam for the final plating ... one gets cagey when it's this hot!

A basic swordfish preparation done perfectly - seared on the outside and pink on the inside  ... the bed of orecchiette is heavy on the peas, onions, and mushrooms and lighter on the pasta ...

Pan Seared Lemon Pepper Swordfish


Swordfish steaks for the number of people dining
Dry white wine
Olive oil
Pinches of red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, Kosher salt
Fresh lemon segments for squeezing
Chopped fresh parsley
Lemon zest
Black pepper
More fresh lemon segments

Making the Swordfish:

  1. Wash and pat dry the swordfish steaks and place them in a shallow glass baking dish.
  2. Add enough white wine to coat the tops and drizzle down over the sides to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle generously with the salt and pepper flakes and black pepper.
  4. Pat the spices into the surface and turn the swordfish, sprinkling more on the other side. Pat those spices in too.
  5. Drizzle olive oil  and some lemon juice over all the steaks and a bit around them.
  6. Cover and place in the fridge for half and hour.
  7. Heat a grill pan over high heat or light the outdoor grill and get it hot.
  8. About eight minutes before you want to dine, place the steaks on the grill and don’t move them for three minutes (I use steaks that are a good 1 ¼ inch thick) …
  9. After three minutes, flip the steaks and repeat, but now  … watch it … the steaks should be pink in the middle. You can gauge this by watching the sides of the steaks … the pink will show on the side that doesn’t have the skin. Grill for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Remove the steaks to a serving platter, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and cover the platter for 3 -4 minutes.
  11. Get the rest of the meal on the table and then, sprinkle fresh parsley, lemon zest, more black pepper and add lemon segments to the platter and serve piping hot.

Orecchiette and Peas for Two


1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly into half moons
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 -3 c. fresh peas
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
6 oz. dried orecchietti pasta, cooked in salted water, drained
1 tbsp. butter
⅓ c. half & half or light cream
¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


2 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter

Making the Dish:

  1. Cook the pasta in a deep pan of salted water, drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, place the olive oil and onions in a deep fry pan. Fry until the onions begin to brown and caramelize. Add the mushrooms and butter. Continue cooking, if that is an option for you.
  3. When the mushrooms are beginning to brown, add the peas and toss everything to combine nicely. Cook for one minute and then, turn the heat off and cover the pan to gently cook the peas.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the vegetables.
  5. Toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add the half & half and the cheese, bring the heat up under the mix to warm things and melt the cheese.
  6. Serve piping hot.


  1. This sounds and looks like a great fish dish. I will definitely try it.

  2. This sounds wonderful. I think I could be happy with the pasta by itself. I am curious about swordfish. At one time it was supposed to be dangerously overfished in the North Atlantic. Was that story just media hype, or has it recovered. I have seen it at the market a few times in the past year, but not often.

    1. For a while swordfish was placed on lists of over-fished resources ... like most fish, though, I am the occasional consumer. I can't feel guilty if I'm not abusing the source. I just wish other consumers would switch up their consumption too and spread out their buying patterns ... like using pollock, hake, and monkfish - the more plentiful fish available. AND going meatless more than just one day a week ...

  3. When it is this hot it is always a good idea to get as much cooking out of the way in the morning as you can. We haven't had sword fish yet this year. I don't know why I haven't bought it. This is such a good recipe. The whole thing looks wonderful.

    1. I only buy swordfish at this time of year, Susan. And it's usually a one or two time thing and then we're done for the year ... it's really expensive and I like getting only the stuff caught in the North Atlantic when the fish cruise up the Gulf Stream in the heat of summer. You know it's fresh and hasn't traveled too far from the docks ...

  4. this is entirely what id like to eat for my dinner right this very moment... and i'm consuming it with my eyes and thinking of how beautifully LUSH it tastes... gorgeous summer food xx

  5. Hi Susan,

    You have cooked this swordfish so well. This is perfect for summer.


  6. An ideal meal for the summer. I absolutely love fish however I have never tried sword fish. The flavors sound amazing.

  7. I like the different taste of swordfish. It's wonderful and that little circular core in the center of the swordfish steaks is a real treat. It's good grilled over charcoal too!

  8. A fish dish is always the best considering the Omega presence as opposed to cholesterol laden of others. Looks inviting for that Summer day, Susan!


  9. Sounds as if you have it down to a fine art :)

  10. You are so spot on Susan, despite all of the colder things to eat during the heat of the summer there is just nothing like digging into something 'hot'. Fish is it in my opinion and oh how you paired this with pasta! Genius! It's not that warm over here in SC, just so rainy and in the mid-80s. Pinned this on my 'deliciously Italian' Pinterest board for ya! Picked a few tomatoes for the first time this summer and said a prayer for all of those farmers out there. God bless them all!



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