Lemon-Rosemary Swordfish en Papillote is a scrumptious, fresh and impressive entrée that’s also good for you. Fresh swordfish fillets are marinated and baked in parchment paper paper together with fresh lemon, rosemary, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. So easy, so impressive!

(Photo by Rick Souders)

Baked Swordfish Recipe

I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Hawaii with my husband Robert. We were originally supposed to go last January, to celebrate my BIG birthday (those ones that end in 0), but Robert ended up having shoulder surgery, so we postponed to this year. We spent a wonderful week on Maui, enjoying the beach, whale watching, exploring the island and partaking of all the fabulous food!

One aspect of our trip I loved was all the fabulous super-fresh fish, which inspired me to post one of my favorite fish recipes this week – my Lemon-Rosemary Swordfish en Papillote.

What does swordfish taste like?

Swordfish is a mild, slightly sweet tasting fish with a more meaty texture.

What does Fish en Papillotte mean?

En papillote simply means wrapped in parchment or foil. It’s a great way to cook fish, as it keeps it very moist.

Which cooking method is actually used when fish is cooked en papillote?

Traditionally, the cooking method for “en papillote” is baking in the oven. Today if the fish is wrapped in foil instead of parchment paper, it can also be cooked on the grill.

Ingredients for Oven Baked Swordfish in Foil

In this dish, fresh swordfish is marinated and then baked in parchment together with a drizzle of the marinade, fresh lemon slices and rosemary. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

For the swordfish marinade:

  • Lemon, zest and juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh garlic, shallot or garlic powder

And, for cooking the swordfish:

  • swordfish fillets
  • lemon slices
  • rosemary sprigs
  • salt and pepper

I created this light and flavorful dish one evening using rosemary-flavored olive oil and lemon-balsamic vinegar I purchased from a local purveyor here in Denver. For those of you who don’t have access to these types of specialty products, I created a modified version using non-flavored oil and vinegar. Directions for both are provided here – and both versions tested very well!

Note: you can substitute halibut for the swordfish.

close up of cooked swordfish filet wrapped in parchment paper
(Photo by Rick Souders)

How do you make a papillote?

Wrapping a fish fillet “en papillote” is actually quite easy. Here’s how:

  1. Prep paper/foil.
    Tear off a piece of foil or parchment paper, about 16 to 18 inches or long – enough to wrap around the fish fillet. Brush foil (if using) with olive oil.
  2. Place fish.
    Place fish fillet in center of one half of foil/paper.
  3. Season.
    Add seasonings, herbs, vegetables, or whatever you’re cooking with the fish.
    showing swordfish filet on papillote paper, hand adding marinade
  4. Wrap.
    Fold paper/foil over top of fish. To seal: start at one end and roll up paper/foil, folding it on top of itself as you go around the edge.
    showing how to roll swordfish inside parchment paper

Is it better to cook fish in parchment paper or foil?

Either works well. If cooking on the grill, use foil – parchment paper will burn. Some people find foil is easier to work with than paper.

Should you wash swordfish before cooking?

Yes, you should wash and pat dry any fish before cooking.

How Long to Bake Swordfish

The general rule of thumb for fish is to cook it 10 minutes per inch of thickness (at the thickest part of the fillet). Add 5 minutes when cooking en papillote. Check to see if it’s done with an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion.

What should swordfish be cooked to?

The FDA recommends cooking all fish to 145 degrees. Swordfish is best cooked medium – not to rare, not to well done. I aim for around 130 to 135 on an instant read thermometer.

Is swordfish safe medium rare?

Yes, but if too rare it can be rubbery in texture.

How do you know when swordfish is done baking?

Following the “10 minutes per inch” rule noted above is a good method. Then, confirm it’s done with an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion. It should reach 130 to 135 degrees.

Storing and Reheating Oven Baked Swordfish

Store any leftover fish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3 days. Reheat in a preheated 325 degree oven for around 10 minutes.

What to Serve with Swordfish en Papillotte

Here are a few side dishes that pair well with this swordfish:

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Swordfish fillet topped with lemon slices, lemon zest and chopped rosemary in a parhment paper packge.

Lemon-Rosemary Swordfish en Papillote

Lemon-Rosemary Swordfish en Papillote is a scrumptious, fresh and impressive entrée that’s also good for you. Fresh swordfish fillets are marinated and baked in parchment paper paper together with fresh lemon, rosemary, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. So easy, so impressive!

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Marinade Time: 60 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

Marinade with non-flavored olive oil and vinegar

  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • Dash sugar (optional)

Marinade with flavored olive oil and vinegar

  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup rosemary olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon chopped shallot

Swordfish

  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) swordfish fillets
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 thin lemon slices
  • 4 (4-inch) rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  1. In a shallow glass dish large enough to hold the fish in one layer, whisk together marinade ingredients. Add fish, cover and place in refrigerator for 1 up to 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Tear off 4 pieces of foil or parchment paper, each about 16 to 18 inches or long enough to wrap around fish fillets. Brush foil (if using) with olive oil.
  4. Place 1 fish fillet in the center of each piece of foil/paper, drizzling with some of the marinade. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Place 2 lemon slices on top of each fillet; top with 1 rosemary sprig. Fold up two opposite edges of the foil/paper and fold over to seal.
  6. Place packets in one layer on a large baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes (10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness, plus an additional 5 minutes). Remove from oven and open carefully as the steam will be hot. If you leave them in the packet they will continue cooking.
  7. Move fish to a serving platter or individual plates, drizzling some of the cooking liquid from inside the packets over the top.

Notes

You can put two fillets in one packet if desired.

Variation: Place prepared packets in foil on a preheated grill over medium heat and cook for around 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Author: (From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: Fish, easy entertaining, healthy
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
Swordfish fillet topped with lemon slices, lemon zest and chopped rosemary in a parhment paper packge.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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