(Last updated: November 2021) These pan-seared shark steaks are a new favorite in our house. They’re the perfect (and cheaper!) swordfish alternative.
Shark Week was last month. I know.
We’re a little late with this post.
This has got to be one of my favorite meals. It’s one of The Angry Chef’s old standbys. He introduced me to shark years ago, and it never disappoints.
If you’ve never had the fish before, you’re in for a treat.
About shark meat
Shark is thick and meaty like swordfish, but tastes slightly sweeter (and is usually significantly cheaper).
Our shark was about $4/lb. at our local H-Mart—and fresh as can be. Always be sure to get your shark steaks from a reputable fishmonger so you know what you’re getting.
It’s a really good source of low-fat protein–and you don’t need to contend with bones like with other fish.
And because it’s shot through with fat, it stays moist when you cook it.
We sprinkled the steaks with Cajun spices, then seared them in butter and olive oil, and deglazed with spiced rum and a little freshly squeezed lime juice.
We served our shark steaks with saffron rice and asparagus sprinkled with little Parmesan.
As with most seafood dishes, make your sides first, and then cook the fish when you’re ready to eat.
The only downside? Like swordfish, shark is high in mercury, so you shouldn’t eat it frequently.
Mercury’s a neurotoxin, so it’s definitely a warning to heed. Read more about all that here.
How to buy shark steaks
It’s also not the most sustainable seafood, so if that’s an issue on your radar, all the more reason to not eat it frequently.
And always be sure that you’re purchasing from a reputable market.
Shark is a firm white fish with meaty flesh. It should be a light, translucent pink color.
Like other firm-fleshed fish, shark is well suited to grilling, pan searing, and baking.
Shark meat can have a lot of urea — which breaks down in the shark’s blood and turns into ammonia — so, we recommend soaking it in milk before preparing it. This helps to neutralize the odor and any strong taste.
It will cook in about 20 – 25 minutes, so you want everything ready to go when the fish is hot out of the pan.
These pan-seared shark steaks are a great addition to any holiday–or really any–festive table.
Other ways to cook shark steaks
In addition to this pans-seared shark steak recipe, shark is also well suited for:
- Grilling whole steaks
- Grilling cubed kebabs
This recipe is more method than anything. You’ll learn the technique for cooking pan-seared shark steaks. Once you know how, you can improvise the flavorings to get creative!
This time, we used a homemade Cajun spice blend, spiked with Aleppo chili flakes, but you can use any combination that works for you.
Pan-Seared Shark Steaks
2 shark steaks
1 lemon, cut into slices
4 Tablespoons Cajun spices
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
1/4 cup spiced rum
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Serves 2 – 3 generously
Note: This recipe is for 2 steaks, but we’re only showing one in the pan here to illustrate.
Prep the shark steaks
Rinse the shark under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. (Always rinse your fresh fish and pat it dry.)
Cover the shark with lemon slices.
Pop them into a bag and stick them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
This will help neutralize any gaminess in the shark steak (depending on how old the shark was when it was caught).
How to cook the shark steaks
Yank the shark out of the fridge.
Toss them on a board and sprinkle each steak evenly with about a tablespoon of Cajun spice on one side. Give each side a good rub to help the spice stick.
Put the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, nonstick pan and set it on the stove over medium-high heat.
Set the fish in the pan, spice-side down.
Sprinkle each naked side with about a tablespoon of Cajun spice.
Cook over medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until well browned on the bottom and cooked about halfway through.
How thick is your shark steak? A quick note on timing.
How long you need to cook the steak on each side will depend on how thick your fish is.
Just keep a good eye on it. And turn the heat down so that your garlic doesn’t scorch.
After about 10-12 minutes, flip the shark steaks over.
Cook for about another 10-12 minutes on that side, until the fish is browned on the bottom and cooked through the middle.
If you don’t cook fish often, cut a little nick in the middle and take a peek inside.
If it’s opaque through and through, it’s done.
If it’s still pink or translucent, it needs to cook longer.
When the fish is just about done, add the spiced rum and last tablespoon of butter to the pan.
Whack the lime in two and squeeze both halves into the pan. Sprinkle with lime zest.
The spiced rum / butter / lime juice shebang will help deglaze the pan and turns all those juices and browned bits into a gloriously tangy, caramelized sauce.
Serve and enjoy!
Slide the fish out onto your plate along with any side dishes.
Drizzle with a little pan sauce.
Garnish with a few more slices of lemon and lime, if you like.