Swordfish Steaks in Tomato, Fennel, and Citrus Sauce

Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

This dish is based on a recipe from chef Michel Richard, which we both enjoyed at his Citrus Restaurant in Los Angeles. Broiling the fish right in the sauce keeps the flesh moist. Another oily, rich fish such as bluefish would also work well in this recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 small fennel bulb, well trimmed with feathery tops reserved, bulb quartered and thinly sliced crosswise (about ¾ pound)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 strips lemon zest (about 2 × ½ inch), cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 strip orange zest (about 2 × ½ inch), cut into very thin slivers
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 swordfish steaks, about ½ inch thick (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 very thin lemon slices
  • Fennel sprigs, for garnish


    1. Heat the olive oil in a stovetop-to-oven skillet or baking dish large enough to hold swordfish in a single layer. Add onion and fennel and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring, until tender, about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Stir in the garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, lemon and orange zest, and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil, stirring, over low heat. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce has reduced slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    2. Set the broiler rack so that the top of the fish will be about 2 inches from the heat source. Heat the broiler.
    3. Place the swordfish steaks in the baking dish, pushing the sauce aside with a spatula. Broil until the tops of the swordfish steaks are lightly browned and the inside is opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.
    4. To serve, place a swordfish steak in the center of a dinner plate. Spoon some of the sauce around each steak, dividing sauce evenly. Garnish with lemon and a fennel sprig.