Swordfish with Citrus Pesto

When I was a kid, I would not eat fish. Of any kind. Except tuna fish. My poor parents had to cook dinner every night to suit me, who wouldn’t eat fish, and my sister, who wouldn’t eat beef. Sometimes I can’t even believe they put up with it (I don’t know what I’ll do it my someday kids are picky eaters… I have a really hard time dealing with pickiness). They were good about trying to slowly introduce it and eventually I found I liked cod cakes (made with potato) and a lot of mild white fishes. Sometime in high school I finally started fully coming around and now I can’t believe I lived so much of my life fish-free!

While looking for a swordfish recipe, I came across Giada’s recipe for Swordfish with Citrus Pesto. Pesto! I love pesto. But for whatever reason, I’ve never made my own pesto. Must be incredibly difficult, right?? I bet you know what I’m going to say now… Nope! It was super duper easy. And now I’m totally obsessed with the fact that I know how to make it and I’m going to want it all the time. I actually used some leftover pesto on the rest of my sweet potato fry salad with feta this afternoon.

Pesto = best dressing ever. Now you know.

Citrus Pesto:

  • 1 bunch basil, about 3 cups
  • 1/2 C pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon, zested and juice
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 C grated parmesan


  • 4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


So, like I said pesto is the easiest thing in the world. It would be wonderful if you had a food processor in which to make it, though. I’m absolutely OBSESSED with my Cuisinart and I highly recommend one for everyone. They make life so much easier. Yes, you could use a blender, but in my opinion, the food processor is so much easier/faster/more fun.

Put the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, orange and lemon juices and zest, and salt and pepper in the food processor. I should note here that when you toast your pine nuts, be careful! They can burn very very quickly and you need to keep your eye on them.


Blend the mixture until finely chopped. It takes like 2 seconds. And then, with the machine still running, gradually add in the olive oil until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.


And stir in the parmesan cheese. Omg, it looks like pesto! And smells like it, too! At the ripe old age of 27, these are the things that excite me. Sad? I don’t think so. I’m quite happy, thank you very much.


And that’s all it takes to make pesto!!!! Try it and you’ll be obsessed too. Promise.

Now get your swordfish out and brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I don’t have a grill. Sadness (but the apartment building I’m moving into in a month has one!!). So I just used a griddle pan.


I love cooking fish and I just don’t do it enough. This swordfish I cooked for about 4 minutes on each side at medium heat.


And the final product!! Just looking at this makes me want more. Lots more. I put a thin layer of pesto on the swordfish.


And then when I was done taking photos and sat down to eat, I added a lot more. What? I’m not going to lie.


And now I totally want swordfish every night. I know, i know, it’s not good to eat swordfish that often (you know, mercury and all). But every once in a while for a treat? Oh my, yes please.


And, of course, when I’m not eating swordfish, I can always use pesto on anything else I can find in my fridge and cupboard. Can and will. I hear pesto freezes quite well, yes?


Are you a fan of pesto? What do you put it on? What should I do with it next? Ideas, please! 🙂

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to enter our Feta Friday Giveaway!!


24 Responses to "Swordfish with Citrus Pesto"

  1. Pam says:

    What a great recipe… the pesto looks amazing.

  2. Mary says:

    This looks like such a tasty entree. The fish is perfectly cooked and the pesto adds such lovely color to the dish. This is a really nice recipe. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  3. Michelle says:

    I love making pesto and I don’t know what I’d do without my food processor! Pesto does freeze well but just make sure to put a bit of olive oil on top of the pesto before you freeze it. Personally, I love mixing pesto with pasta and tomatoes. Delish.

  4. Erica says:

    Pesto rocks! I actually like it simply on toasted bread topped with a little cheese (like a pesto pizza). This dish looks great- I think Josh would really enjoy it. I just want to cook with Giada- she has the best ideas

  5. Chris says:

    We really should have this more often.

  6. Lizzy says:

    Love pesto! Make pesto pasta with Feta! Oh Pesto Potato Salad. Or Pesto Pizza… mmmm

  7. I have never had swordfish but it looks perfectly flaky and delicious! Oh, and I’m huge fan of using pesto as a sandwich spread 🙂

  8. Very pretty piece of fish and pesto. Yum!

  9. Kerstin says:

    What a lovely fresh pesto with that lemon and orange juice in it! i was the same way growing up and looking back feel so sad about it.

  10. im so happy you found my blog! omg that link to the sweet potato fry salad is both delicious and incredibly CLEVER!!

    and i LOVE your blog title name!! so funny/cute!


  11. Joanne says:

    We are so similar because I spent most of my childhood not eating fish either! Weird because now I ADORE it. This dish looks fantastic. I really want to try that pesto.

  12. Sharon says:

    This recipe looks fantastic! Swordfish is one of my favorites and I am going to make this sometime this week. Where do you buy your fresh fish? As Michelle said, pesto does freeze very nicely so you can always have it on hand. Nice job, Sues!!

  13. Velva says:

    pesto has a way of just bring almost any dish to a new level. This looks wonderful.
    I was the exact same way growing-up. i did not like fish but, would eat tuna fish (sigh). I have made the leap to scallops and grilled scallops but still struggle with fish. I am working on it, I promise. 🙂

  14. Megan says:

    I know just what you mean about the pine nuts! I usually end up tossing half the ones I toast because they’re burnt! I love pesto! Sometimes I’ll just stir it up with some shredded chicken and pasta… or spread it on bread and top it with tomato slices.

  15. Daisy says:

    I made a citrus pesto last week over penne pasta with roasted red peppers. It looks pretty simmilar to yours! I discovered pesto as a kid and have loved it ever since.

    I ate fish as a kid but never lobster or shellfish. those aquired tastes have grown on me as I reached adult hood. I couldn’t believe i missed out on family lobster dinners. what were we thinking?!?

  16. I eat pesto on everything, especially just a spoon =)

  17. I recently made a garlic scape and walnut pesto and it was totally delicious!

  18. sweetersalt says:

    Love pesto good mixed into homemade salad dressings! Today I’ll top my salad with a dressing made of a spoonful of pesto (made with garlic scapes) and a bit of yogurt. Creamy and yummy!

  19. That looks delicious! I love pesto mixed with eggs; in an omelette. Yum! I also fleck some of it onto popcorn for a savory treat. I heart pesto!

  20. Kelly says:

    I think a better question Sues is what DON’T I put it on. I love using it as kind of a leftover dish that I make when I have random herbs and cheese mucking about that I don’t want to go bad. I have one recipe that I make with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese that is amazing.

  21. This dish sounds nice and simple and delicious!

  22. Sharlene says:

    Oh I love love love pesto! I often think about what would happen if my kids were picky eaters too. My boyfriend now doesn’t like goat cheese and it kills me. But who can’t love pesto? So yummy. I haven’t tried it on top of fish but it sounds delicious!

  23. Shannon says:

    omg this looks heavenly! i just got introduced to swordfish last year and fell in love 🙂 and pesto, well, i need to start making my own taste like that from Cinque Terre!!

  24. holly says:

    Pesto does freeze well, I love to make it in huge batches as I get basil from the garden/farmer’s market/CSA…
    I was just recently let in on a great tip for freezing it: If you freeze the pesto in your ice-cube tray, then transfer to a freezer bag or container, it makes thawing and reheating a nice portion easier. Freezing in just a bag is an absolute MESS! When you’re ready for some more of the good green stuff, just toss a couple frozen pesto cubes into a skillet and heat 🙂

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