One of my go-to mid-week meals is fish fillets pan-seared in a cast-iron skillet. (I shared it recently here and here on Instagram.) I like to stock up on 2-packs of frozen wild-caught fish (usually at Trader Joe's) so I can grab one out of my freezer when I need a quick meal. Fish fillets can be cooked in as little as 10-15 minutes (depending on their thickness) and if you forget to thaw them overnight in the fridge, you can simply run the bag under cold water in your sink for several minutes.
If you've never had mahi-mahi before, you're in for a treat! It's a neutral-tasting buttery white fish, which makes it perfect for picky eaters. I like to think of it as a poor man's halibut because it's 1/4 of the price, but similar in taste. As much as I wish I could eat wild-caught halibut every week (maybe if I lived in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska), my pocketbook appreciates mahi-mahi much more.
How to Cook Mahi-Mahi Fillets
I know oven baked fish is really popular (and easy), but I think the key to an amazing tasting fillet is a delicious crust, which you're not going to get if you just season it and pop it in the oven. At the very least, you should sear it first and then bake it the rest of the way. (I've done this before with halibut using Gordon's Ramsay's technique.)
I much prefer quickly searing the fillets on the stove-top in a hot oiled cast-iron skillet, which develops a beautiful crust packed with flavor. Although, the key is to generously season the fish with a good spice mixture. My current favorite right now is this Cajun seasoning, which has a blend of sea salt, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder, black pepper, coriander, cumin, onion powder, red pepper, oregano, basil, ginger, fenugreek, dill seed, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, and sugar.
Once you've seared the mahi-mahi, you can serve it straight from the pan with a wedge or two of citrus (lime, lemon, or orange) to squeeze on top. Easy, simple, and delicious. However, if you have an extra 10 minutes to spare, I highly recommend fixing a quick fruit salsa to spoon on top of it.
The sweet and slightly spicy flavors of the salsa pair beautifully with the Cajun spices, citrus juice, and tender fish. Two of my favorites are mango avocado salsa and fresh peach salsa, but today we're focusing on pineapple.
If you want to serve the fruit salsa immediately, it's best to choose a fruit that's already very ripe & juicy. Otherwise, you'll want to chop everything, mix it in a bowl, and let it macerate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to bring out the flavors. If you're short on time, you can skip the macerating and it'll still taste yummy OR just fix it the day before.
My go-to fruit right now is pineapple since it's bright, sweet, and is shipped ripe to the grocery store. No need to wait several days for it to ripen (I generally have to do this with mangoes) and if I have any leftover, I can freeze it in chunks for smoothies. Easy peasy!
What To Serve With Mahi-Mahi
Since the mahi-mahi is the star of the show, I tend to choose simple side dishes to serve with it. The easiest is when I have leftover sides from the night before. Isn't that the BEST feeling?!
When I'm not so fortunate as to have leftovers, I generally serve pan-seared fish with some type of starch and vegetable like coconut rice, cilantro lime rice, roasted diced potatoes, oven-roasted green beans, pan-fried asparagus, or a leafy side salad with homemade blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, or apple cider vinaigrette. A vinegar based coleslaw would be another good option if you don't want to crank up your oven.
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What are your favorite toppings and seasonings for Mahi-Mahi or other similar white fish?
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