Fast Recipes

Pan-fried swordfish with lemon-caper butter and salted potatoes

Throw in a crisp lettuce and cucumber salad and it’s a win.

By Brigitte Hafner
  • Serves 4
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It's easy to go to the fishmonger with something in mind, but often it could be unavailable, or something else will really stand out. This dish is one to have in the repertoire for any thin fillets of fish, be it John Dory, King George whiting, baby snapper, red mullet or even small swordfish steaks as we've used here. Keep it simple – the goal is to focus on the flavour of the fish and to take the brown butter to just the right point.


  • 4 swordfish steaks (about 160gm each)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 gm salted butter
  • 45 gm (¼ cup) salted capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large lemon, for squeezing
Salted potatoes
  • 4 potatoes, such as King Edward or Dutch Cream, quartered


  • 1
    For salted potatoes, place potato in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then add enough salt until the water tastes like the sea (about 1½ tbsp per 1 litre water). Cook potatoes until tender (10-15 minutes; the time will depend on the size of the potatoes). Drain, and leave in pan to steam dry a little before serving.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan and a small, heavy frying pan over high heat. Season both sides of fish to taste and when the non-stick pan feels hot, drizzle in enough oil to just cover the pan. Add fish and cook, turning halfway, until flaking easily on the outside but still pink in the centre (2-3 minutes each side). Remove fish from heat and keep warm. Meanwhile, add butter to the small pan and watch over it as it begins to foam and turn nut-brown (3-4 minutes). When butter is dark brown, and smells toasty and caramelised (1 minute), add capers and a good squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Spoon lemon-caper butter over fish and serve with salted potatoes.