This easy swordfish dinner, topped with tomato olive relish, is a fast and flavorful main dish that you can make in under 20 minutes!
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This recipe for Swordfish with Tomato Olive Relish was quite popular when I taught cooking classes at Whole Foods Market. I’ve tweaked it over the years, and it delivers a one-pan meal that is packed with protein and flavor.
The best part is, there’s no chopping required! The blender (or a food processor) does all of the work of chopping the garlic, tomatoes, olives, and herbs. A few pulses in the blender creates a delightfully chunky sauce with no need to chop anything.
Here’s what you’ll need for this dish:
- Two swordfish fillets (you can also use mahi mahi, salmon, cod, another whitefish, or even chicken)
- Grape tomatoes make the base of the relish—you can use cherry tomatoes, too
- Kalamata olives and capers add a bright, briny flavor
- Fresh herbs and garlic complete the relish
Choosing fresh herbs
Tomatoes pair nicely with a variety of herbs. I found a “pasta blend” of herbs (pictured below) at my local grocery store, which contains basil, marjoram, oregano, and thyme. You can use any one of these herbs, or a mixture of all four.
How to sear swordfish
Swordfish has a firm, meaty texture, which makes it great for pan searing or grilling. For this recipe, we will pan sear the fish.
You can use either a nonstick skillet or a metal skillet for this recipe. Start by adding one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and heat it over medium heat. Pat the swordfish dry with paper towels. This step ensures that the swordfish gets a nice brown crust on it.
When the oil and butter are hot, add the swordfish. Cook for 3–4 minutes or until golden, then flip and cook for an additional 3–4 minutes.
Making the relish
I love the idea of a blender doing the work for me, especially after a long day. A food processor would work great here, too.
Start by pulsing a garlic clove in the blender (here’s the one I use) until it’s chopped, then add the fresh grape tomatoes, olives, and capers. Give it a few pulses until the relish is chunky.
When you flip the swordfish, add the relish at the same time. The flavors will marry with the swordfish, and the relish will get warm as the fish cooks.
Swordfish is a hearty, meaty fish that can sometimes be expensive. The great news is, this recipe is very adaptable for other types of fish, or even chicken. Here are a few ideas of fish/meat that you can swap in for the swordfish:
- Mahi mahi
- Chicken breasts (thin cut so you can cook them on the stovetop)
- Thin-cut pork chops
You may need to adjust the cooking time if you’re using another fish or meat. The swordfish was about ¾ of an inch thick, so adjust the searing time if whatever you’re using is thicker or thinner.
Side dish ideas
For a side, I cooked ¾ of a cup of I Heart Keenwah Toasted White Quinoa (12oz Bag) with 1½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. I really like the I Heart Keenwah brand because the quinoa is toasted, eliminating that slightly bitter taste that raw quinoa has. It smells and tastes slightly nutty, too. I garnished the cooked quinoa with some extra thyme.
For the second side dish, I roasted a sheet pan of green beans. It’s my very favorite way to cook green beans—I love how they get soft and a little wrinkly, with toasted brown spots from the roasting. I spiced them up with red pepper flakes and kosher salt.
For meal planning purposes, this whole dinner should take about 30 minutes. Start on the green beans first and put them in the oven, then boil the quinoa with the water (follow instructions on the bag of quinoa). Then start the swordfish, and you’ll have dinner in the table half an hour later.
Here are a few more great side dish options:
- Brown rice or white rice
- Garlic roasted broccoli
- Grilled asparagus
- Bacon brussels sprouts
- Corn on the cob with herb compound butter (I love this one in the summer!)
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Swordfish with Tomato Olive Relish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 (6–8 oz) swordfish steaks
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup kalamata olives (or your favorite olives)
- 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, or a mix of these, plus more for garnish)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- To serve: cooked quinoa or rice
- Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the butter and olive oil.
- Pat the swordfish steaks with paper towels to dry, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the swordfish steaks in the hot skillet. Sear for 3–4 minutes on the first side.
- Meanwhile, place the garlic clove in a blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add the grape tomatoes, olives, and capers. Pulse until roughly chopped (you want the mixture to be chunky).
- Flip the swordfish steaks and add the tomato mixture to the skillet. Cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the swordfish is cooked through. Stir in the fresh herbs and serve with quinoa or rice.