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Swordfish Flavor Scale

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Swordfish Flavor Profile

Swordfish has a mildly sweet flavor and a moist, meaty texture with moderately high fat content.  The flesh can range from white or ivory to pink or orange.  The color variations do not reflect quality.  All Swordfish turn beige in color after cooking.

FDA Note: Swordfish have high levelsof methyl-mercury so the FDA advises that pregnant women, nursing women, women of childbearing age and young children avoid eating swordfish.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Broadbill, Espada, Emperado

Swordfish Description (Xiphias gladius)

Swordfish have a long beak resembling a sword.  They can grow to almost 15 feet long and weigh as much as 1400 lb, but average size is 50 - 200 lbs.  Swordfish eat small tuna, barracuda, dorado, squid, mackerel, flying fish, rockfish, hake, and other fish.

raw Swordfish
photo by www.honolulufish.com

Purchasing Considerations

Knowing how to purchase quality seafood is one of the things which makes a chef successful. Fresh Swordfish loins should be ivory in color and have a translucent quality.  Previously frozen loins will be whiter and have an opaque rather than translucent quality about the flesh.  The bloodline should be red, not brown or black.  If there are red spots in the flesh it indicates that there are broken blood vessels and the fish was over-stressed at capture--return it for another piece.

Range & Habitat

Swordfish is available in oceans worldwide.

Fresh Swordfish Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak Swordfish availability, light green show limited availability.  Frozen available all year long.
Swordfish Availability


Swordfish Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/Off gutted 78% 64%  
Skin/On Loins -- 85% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Typical Swordfish Wholesale Products

H&G, Sides (Halves), Loins (quarters), Steaks


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 207
* Protein grams 33.9
* Fat grams  6.9
* Saturated fat grams  1.9
* Sodium milligrams  154
* Cholesterol milligrams  66.9
* Omega-3 grams  1.0


Swordfish Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Swordfish, Xiophias gladius Broadbill, Espada, Emperado, Shutome
Wild - Harpoon, Handline Hawaii Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Elevated
US - Canada, East Pacific, North Atlantic Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png
Wild - Drift Gillnet California Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Wild - Longline US Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Wild - Longline, Harpoon, Handline Indian Ocean Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Wild - Longline, Harpoon, Handline, Drift Gillnet Mediterranean Sea Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Wild - Longline Imported Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
August 2013


Additional Resources:

National Marine Fisheries Service


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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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Comments [ Add a Comment ]

ROCHELLE [] [ Sep 03, 2012 ]

What can you tell me about Hake?

DAVID BUCHANAN [ Jun 25, 2010 ]

Thank-you Tanantha!  I'm always looking for useful content to add.

TANANTHA @ I JUST LOVE MY APRON [] [ Jun 25, 2010 ]

Oh wow, I didn't know swordfish wasn't recommend for pregnant women, and kids! Great info here!

DAVID BUCHANAN [ Jun 23, 2010 ]

Thank-you Magic!  Swordfish is a wonderful fish.  I use the yield % here for my plate costing.

MAGIC OF SPICE [] [ Jun 22, 2010 ]

One of my very favorites, love the info here.