Mahi Mahi: The White Fish You Need Get to on the Grill ASAP
My closest friend is an avid fisher and recently sent me a picture of his fresh catch of the day— Mahi mahi. The fish had bright mustard yellow bellies and grassy green fins that ran along their backs... and distinctly mean looking expressions. You might recognize mahi mahi as the humongous fish—growing up to 6 feet in length—you see often see fishermen sporting in their victory photos (and Tinder photos). I replied to the text, “Cool! I thought mahi mahi were dolphins!?” To which I received an, “Umm, no, they’re fish, and they are delicious.” Surely, I can’t be the only one to believe this misconception. Right!?
Man holding fresh mahi mahi fish Getty Images
Mahi mahi, scientifically known as Coryphaena hippurus is a dolphin fish and is commonly confused with the marine mammal, dolphins. That said, they are NOT related. At all. The term “mahi” is the Hawaiian word for “strong.” Rest assured, mahi mahi is not considered overfished and lives in tropical waters all over the world. The majority of the mahi in the U.S. is sustainably sourced.
Mahi Mahi is a hearty, yet tender and flaky, white fish that absorbs flavors easily. Plan to marinate and cook it with little prep time necessary. It only needs about 5 minutes to soak up seasonings in an acid-based marinade. You can grill it, broil it, fry it or pan sear the fish to have it ready for dinner within minutes. Or for a fun fresh alternative, with a squeeze of a few lemons and limes, you can enjoy mahi mahi in a fresh ceviche (the acidic juice “cooks” the raw fish). For a light summer supper, toss it with pineapple chunks and mango for a festive tropical seafood salad. Mahi mahi is superb in tacos or between thick slices of bread for fish sandwiches. When you start getting tired of salmon and burgers on the grill this summer, mahi mahi makes for a sustainable and delicious alternative to try.
We have a few recipe recommendations to start your cooking adventure with mahi mahi:
Pair your mahi mahi with fragrant coconut rice and beans. Here, the mahi mahi is baked and topped with a tropical banana chutney.
Fish sticks are a great use for mahi because the hearty white fish won’t fall apart during the frying process. The cornmeal drench gives your fish a delicate crispy crunch.
Source your fish from a reputable fish market to get the best quality cut of mahi mahi for your ceviche. This is a literal no-cook recipe because the citrus does all the work.
Adolfo Garcia, RioMar
Adolfo Garcia's Panamanian ancestry is reflected in both the menu at RioMar and this recipe. Escabèche is a traditional Spanish way of preserving game meat with an acidic marinade, used here as a sauce to eliminate the need for hours in the fridge.
This Latin influenced dish is packed with peppers in a tangy vinaigrette sauce that tops the mahi mahi. P.S. this fish holds its shape perfectly during grilling.
Sesame seeds make for a toasty coat on this pan-seared recipe that take about 3 minutes to fry. The salad paired with its punchy wasabi dressing compliments the fish perfectly.
Crank the oven up high to broil the mahi mahi until it’s golden. Serve over a brothy onion and tomato mixture.