Swordfish Palermo Style  

Pesce Spada alla Palermitana 

Pisci Spata a Palermitana

Swordfish is one of the most popular fish in the world, because of its firm flesh, its mild taste and because it can be prepared in many ways including baking, frying, barbecuing, broiling or poaching.

Swordfish Palermo style, is almost similar to the way the people in Granada, Spain, prepare and cook fresh seafood by immersing it in an infusion of citrus fruits, juices, herbs and spices and let the action of the marinade change the texture of the fish and practically cook it: this style of cooking  is called ceviche.

Swordfish Palermo Style is marinated for a few hours into a wine and olive oil mixture with the addition of sliced onions, bay leaves, salt and pepper; and before it is quickly fried, it is sprinkled with a small amount of oregano or marjoram. Use fresh Mediterranean mild oregano, or fresh marjoram; their slight piquant taste and rich aroma will impart to the swordfish an extraordinary fragrance and delicate scent.

The swordfish cooked Palermo style is a simple and quick preparation; it will result into a firm meat that will retain its texture and the delicate smell of swordfish, without being “fishy”. 

The fresh lemon juice and olive oil sprinkled on top, when served, will enhance its flavor and tastiness. 



Serves 4




·   4 slices of swordfish (6 oz. each ¾ “ tick)

·   1 cup of olive oil , divided

·   1 small onion, sliced

·   1 cup white wine

·   salt and pepper to taste

·   4 bay leaves, broken in half

·   Few sprigs of fresh oregano or marjoram

·   2 tablespoons of olive oil

·   Quartered lemons for garnish

·   1 tablespoon of olive oil for drizzling



The Marinade

Whisk the olive oil in a large bowl and while beating it, add wine, a little at a time. Continue whipping for a minute, then add the sliced onions, bay leaves, salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Rinse the swordfish steaks with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them in the bowl with marinade and keep them there for a few hours.


Slice of Swordfish 


The Assembly

Place the swordfish steaks in a dish and discard the marinade.

Sprinkle over each slice of fish small amount of oregano or fresh marjoram.

In a large skillet (12 ½ inch wide) place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and over a high heat fry the swordfish cooking it for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Fry the swordfish 2 slices at a time and use a large spatula when turning it; set aside in a large serving plate; use the other tablespoon of olive oil to fry the remaining 2 slices. Shake over some salt, sprinkle with olive oil and garnish with lemon’s wedges.

An excellent pairing wine to the Swordfish Palermitano is a bottle of Sicilian Corvo Bianco di Salaparuta, or a Californian Chablis.