Fresh flavors for hot weather dishes.
Mahi-mahi, dolphin fish and dorado are the same fish by a different name. They’re fun to catch and are one of the best eating fish in Florida. In Atlantic waters, harvested “mahi” must be 20 inches minimum fork length. In the Gulf of Mexico three’s no minimum size. But while little “peanut” size mahi can be easy to catch, it’s important to leave a few behind for “seed.” All sizes make good table fare.
Mahi flesh is firm and takes well to a quick sear in a lightly oiled frying pan. Species with similarly firm flesh work well, but this is the perfect month to hone your mahi-catching skills, as the CCA has added mahi as a tagged species to the 2018 STAR. The event begins on May 26, with the STAR registered angler who is a CCA member catching the first of 20 tagged mahi winning $10,000 cash or scholarship. There’s complete information at www.ccaflstar.com
Keep in mind that as the weather warms up, it’s good to have a few quick-cooking recipes to keep heat in the house down. A few minutes of heat and this dish is ready for the table and of course, it can also be cooked on the grill.
Minty Watermelon and Pineapple Salsa
- 2 pounds mahi, or other fresh, firm mild fish, cut to order to serve
- 2 cups finely chopped seedless watermelon
- 2 cups finely chopped pineapple
- 2 Juice of key limes
- ½ cup finely chopped mint leaves (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Gently combine all the ingredients except the fish, then drain and reserve the excess liquid for the marinade. This recipe’s salsa creates a good bit of sweet juice, and when used as a marinade, allows the fish to develop a caramelized crust as it is seared over high heat. Thirty minutes in the marinade is adequate.
Take the fillets from the marinade and let them drain excess liquid on a plate. Fire up your pan and oil it and let it heat, but don’t let the oil smoke. Cook two fillets at a time in the hot pan.The advantage of a quick sear is that the outside of the fish will be crunchy while the inside remains moist and tender. Thicker 4- to 6-ounce skinless fillets are best.
For the best reviews from your guests, garnish plates with the remaining mint, and serve the fish alongside a generous helping of the salsa and a glass of dry white wine. Serves 4 to 8 depending on portion size. FS
Florida Sportsman Magazine May 2018