Swordfish involtini on the grill (Involtini di pesce spade alla griglia)

Swordfish Involtini
The Sicilians don’t have the corner on cooking with swordfish (pesce spada) – the Calabrians, who share the same sea with Sicily, have their own swordfish culture. And while grilling fish (in this case, swordfish) scares people to death – it’s really easy here because of the salmorigilo sauce. Salmoriglio sauce, which IS from Sicily, derives from the Sicilian word salmurigghiu, which means a light brine, and there is, indeed, some salt in it, though the primary ingredient is lemon juice. It’s a really versatile sauce that can be used on fish, pork or beef. It is a classic when paired with swordfish.

The key to this recipe is to gently pound the swordfish to create a thin piece to rollup into the involtini.

This recipe serves 4 people as a main course. This recipe is adapted from My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino.


Salmoriglio Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch of hot chili pepper flakes or a fresh hot chili pepper cut into thin slices (as shown)

Swordfish and Filling

  • 2 swordfish steaks, each about 3/4″ thick
  • 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced capers
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Special equipment:

  • A kitchen mallet with a flat side
  • A kitchen brush


Salmoriglio Sauce

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Let stand until ready to use.

Swordfish and Filling

  1. Heat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Remove the swordfish skin (if any) using a very sharp knife
  3. Slice the swordfish steak horizontally to create two thiner steaks from the 3/4″ steaks. This is a bit tricky so use a super sharp knife and go slow. Put the palm on your hand on the swordfish steak to steady it.
  4. Place the swordfish between parchment paper or wax paper. Using a mallet, flatten the swordfish to about 1/2 the thickness from which you started.
  5. Make the filling. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, capers, garlic and olive oil in a bowl.
  6. Lay out the swordfish on a board and liberally sprinkle with the filling. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll up each swordfish steak like a jellyroll starting with the widest side of the swordfish piece. Close with a toothpick.
  7. Reserve three-quarters of the salmoriglio for serving. Using the remaining sauce, brush each swordfish roll all over with the sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Grill the swordfish rolls, turning to get nice grill marks. About 5 minutes total.
  9. Serve by drizzling the remaining salmoriglio sauce over the swordfish rolls as shown in the photo.

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