Swordfish in Orange Juice | Pesce Spada all’Arancia

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Swordfish in orange juice is an Italian fish recipe with a sweet-sour note given by the juice of the oranges, which makes it very appetizing in the end.

You must first marinate the swordfish in orange juice and a little lemon.

Then use the citrus marinade while cooking the swordfish. The result is a delicious sweet and sour sauce that perfectly matches the intense flavor of the swordfish.

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Pan-fried swordfish comes out soft, juicy and aromatic and it’s ready to eat in no time.

The recipe for Pan Fried Swordfish with Orange Juice combines the flavors of two typical ingredients of the Mediterranean tradition, in particular the Sicilian cuisine. Swordfish and oranges are indeed a delicious combination!

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Swordfish with orange is a simple but refined and very aromatic dish. It’s perfect for a dinner with friends, but also for more formal occasions. You will make a great impression!

Serve the swordfish with a grating of fresh orange zest and a salad of fennel and oranges, a typical Sicilian recipe.

Now let’s see together how to make Swordfish in Orange Juice recipe.

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Swordfish in Orange Juice Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 Min + 30 Min marinating in orange juice
  • Cook Time: 10 Min
  • Servings: 4


  • 500 g (1.1 pound) of swordfish slices
  • 1/2 organic lemon
  • 2 organic oranges
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • fine salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


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Step 1) – Start by preparing the swordfish. The slices should not be thin. They should be about 1 1/2 cm (2/3 inch) high. Remove the skin and central bone.

On a cutting board, cut the swordfish into fairly large and even pieces. Place them in a bowl.

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Step 2) – Squeeze the citrus fruits. Add the orange and lemon juice (strained) to the swordfish.

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Step 3) – Add a pinch of salt, ground black pepper to taste, a teaspoon of brown sugar and the chopped parsley.

Stir and leave the swordfish to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Then prepare a plate with flour. Take the swordfish pieces out of the marinade and dip them in the flour.

Make sure each piece is well covered. Flour all the pieces and arrange them on a plate.

PLEASE NOTE: Set aside the citrus marinade that you will use for cooking.

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Step 4) – In a frying pan large enough to hold all the pieces of swordfish, heat the extra virgin olive oil.

Add the fish and cook over high heat for a few minutes.

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Step 5) – After about 2 minutes, turn the swordfish to the other side and brown it in the same way. Then turn again. The flour in contact with the hot oil will form a crispy crust.

When the fish is crispy and golden brown on both sides (4-5 minutes total), pour the marinade, which is mostly orange juice, over the fish.

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Step 6) – Cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat. Due to the presence of flour and sugars, the liquid will thicken a bit and form a delicious orange sauce.

The orange swordfish is done! Serve with grated fresh orange zest and drizzle with the cooking juices. Decorate with an orange slice.

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How to Store Swordfish in Orange Juice

We recommend that you eat the Swordfish in Orange juice as soon as it’s ready and still warm.

However, if necessary, it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one day.

Freezing is not recommended.

Swordfish in Orange Juice: Some Tips and Variants

  • To get a good result, it’s essential that the swordfish is not too thin, 1 1/2 or 2 cm (3/4 or 1 inch) is the right thickness.
  • It’s also very important that the oil is very hot when you place the fish in the pan. This will form a crust on the surface that will prevent the internal juices from running out. The swordfish will remain crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.
  • We decided to cut the slices into smaller pieces. This is to facilitate a short and even cooking. Also, the smaller pieces are easier to portion. Of course, if you have medium-small slices, you can leave them whole or cut them in half, depending on the cut of the fish.

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Some Additional Seasonings

You can season the swordfish with various herbs and spices that go well with the orange.

We kept the marinade very simple: salt, parsley and a little pepper.

But if you prefer a more aromatic taste, you can add other spices. For example, we suggest turmeric and ginger.

Instead of parsley, you can use mint leaves or fennel seeds.

What to Serve with Orange Swordfish?

As a side dish to orange swordfish, we recommend something light and simple such as grilled vegetables or a salad of fresh vegetables.

Try swordfish orange with the Italian Caponata or a cauliflower salad.

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Baked Orange Swordfish

We have shown you the recipe for swordfish cooked in a pan and previously marinated in orange juice.

This method of cooking is very quick and, as we have seen, also allows you to get the crispy outside and soft inside effect.

If you prefer to bake, we recommend this method which, without marinating, allows the fish to absorb all the flavor of the oranges.

  • Cut an orange into thin slices. Arrange the orange slices so that they overlap slightly and cover the entire bottom of a baking dish.
  • Season with salt and pepper and a little oil.
  • Place the slices of swordfish on top of the citrus. Drizzle with the juice of one orange and half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 180°C (356°F) for about 20 minutes.

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Serve immediately.

By baking over the citrus, the swordfish absorbs all the flavor of the orange and remains very tender.

You can also serve sliced oranges, which will have absorbed all the flavor of the fish.

How Can you Tell if Swordfish is Fresh?

As with all recipes, but especially those involving fish, the freshness and quality of the ingredients are absolutely essential.

If you are not sure of the freshness of the fish, it is best to use frozen fish.

To be sure of its freshness, check that the flesh is firm, pink and perfectly attached to the central bone. Also, the flesh should not be dull in appearance.

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