Tomato-Poached Swordfish

Tomato Poached Swordfish Recipe

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This tomato-poached swordfish is an easy swordfish recipe that’s perfect for a warm summer night.

An easy swordfish recipe perfect for summer

swordfish dinner

I love swordfish, but my go-to method has always involved pan-searing the swordfish with lots of lemon and butter.

In this version, I used poaching as the cooking technique. This easy dinner recipe uses plenty of cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and basil to create a summery swordfish dinner that you’ll love.

What you need

  • Swordfish: You can use a firm white fish like cod or halibut instead, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Tomatoes: I use heirloom cherry tomatoes, but your favorite small tomato works here. You can use chopped Roma tomatoes too! If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use a 28-ounce can of diced instead.
  • Onion: I use a sweet Vidalia onion, but a shallot or even leeks would be delicious too.
  • Kalamata olives: I used Kalamata olives, but you can try it with black olives or Castelvetrano olives. I’ve used the DaLallo brand, and I’ve also made this with Divina Kalamata olives; both are delicious!
  • Fresh herbs: I finish the swordfish with purple basil and fresh oregano. I found the purple basil–which has more undertones of cloves in its flavor–at the farmer’s market. Use whatever basil you have available. Italian or even Thai basil is delicious. You can also use freshly chopped parsley instead.
  • Lemon juice: No seafood dish is complete without a little squeeze of acid at the end! Lemon juice adds a nice bright finish.

How to make it

This recipe is really simple. I especially love it because it’s kind of a set-it-and-forget-it dinner.

  • Step 1: Sauté a diced onion and then add the tomatoes. Continue cooking until the skins split, then mash a few tomatoes. Add the olives and water and bring to a boil.
  • Step 2: Add the swordfish to the pot in an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through. The timing will vary depending on the internal temperature you prefer your swordfish to be cooked to, as well as how thick your steaks are. I recommend starting to check the temperature after 25 minutes and then continue checking in 5-minute intervals.
  • Step 3: Remove the pot from the oven and finish with the fresh herbs and lemon juice. You’re done!

What temperature to cook swordfish to

This is really based upon your personal preference, but the optimal temperature for swordfish is between 130ºF and 145ºF.


Because I’m cooking this low and slow, I like to let the swordfish cook to 140ºF and then rest it for 5 minutes off the heat in the warm broth.

How to serve the swordfish

  • Transfer the fish to shallow bowls and spoon the sauce around.
  • Scatter a bit more oregano and basil leaves on top.
  • Serve with a slice of warm, crusty bread.
Tomato Poached Swordfish Recipe

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did! If you make it, please rate the recipe and drop a comment to let me know how it turns out. I’d love to hear from you.

Tomato Poached Swordfish Recipe

Tomato-Poached Swordfish

This tomato-poached swordfish is an easy swordfish recipe that's perfect for a warm summer night.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, peeled and diced
  • pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 7 ounces pitted kalamata olives drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound swordfish steaks patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • ½ ounce basil leaves, roughly chopped; a few leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced oregano, plus a pinch for serving
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • 4 slices warm, crusty bread for serving


Make the sauce:

  • Preheat oven to 275ºF.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a wide, ovenproof pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–7 minutes until translucent. Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and a big pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook for 8–10 minutes until the skins split, mashing a few tomatoes into the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the olives and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Taste and season.

Cook the swordfish:

  • Nestle the swordfish into the broth. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer to the oven for 25–35 minutes. Check the temperature after 25 minutes and continue baking for 5–10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 140ºF when inserted at the thickest part of the fish. Remove from the oven.

Finish the swordfish:

  • Sprinkle the oregano and chopped basil on top. Squeeze the lemon over the fish. Let stand for 5 minutes.

To serve:

  • Place the fish in bowls and spoon the sauce around. Finish with a sprinkle of oregano on each dish and scatter fresh basil leaves around the fish. Serve with warm bread on the side. Enjoy!
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