May 30, 2022
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, there’s no minimum size. While there are high vessel limits and 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 mild. Ask anyone, it doesn't get much better than pan seared mahi mahi in a lightly oiled frying pan. Species with similarly firm flesh— like grouper, pompano, cobia, wahoo or swordfish— will work well with this fish marinade and pineapple salsa recipe.
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.
Easy Pan Seared Mahi Mahi Recipe with Watermelon & 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 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Gently combine all the ingredients except the fish, then drain and reserve the excess liquid for the marinade. This pineapple salsa recipe 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 salsa and a glass of dry white wine. Serves 4 to 8 depending on portion size.
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine May 2018