- Mahi Mahi (about 1 lb.)
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
- ½ lemon, squeezed
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- A handful of spinach, cabbage, arugula or your favorite leafy green
Chipotle Lime Crema
- ½ cup olive oil mayonnaise
- ½ lime, squeezed
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1/2 pepper, seeded and diced, plus sauce)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- A dash ground red pepper (cayenne is good)
- ½ tsp. minced garlic
Total Time: 15-20 minutes
Mahi Mahi tacos on a weekday brings a little bit of a beach vacation to the middle of the work week. I absolutely love fish tacos and think that Mahi Mahi is the perfect fish for the task – it’s firm, has a subtle flavor that isn’t too “fishy”, cooks really quickly, and the smell doesn’t linger in your kitchen. Broccoli is not traditional fish taco side dish, but it tastes good and is good for you. There’s also a chance, that, like me, you’ll have some broccoli (or other vegetable) in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with. Why not serve it with the tacos? I start this meal by steaming the broccoli. Whenever I’m steaming something, I start with that task first because it generally takes the longest. This is the easiest part of the recipe – I just put broccoli in a steamer, and walk away.
While the broccoli is steaming, turn to cooking your fish. In the summer, I enjoy grilling the Mahi Mahi, but that’s not always possible, even in California. It occasionally rains. When I don’t grill, I pan fry the Mahi Mahi in a little bit of olive oil. You can use a cast iron skillet, a nonstick skillet or any other type of skillet that you have handy. A note on Mahi Mahi – I buy mine from the frozen section at Trader Joes. You have to defrost it in the refrigerator the night before, which requires a bit of planning, but the fish is tasty and well priced. If you’re lucky enough to have a local seafood counter, their fish will likely be the freshest. While you’re prepping the Mahi Mahi, turn on your burner, place your pan on top of it, and toss some olive oil in it, about one Tbsp. While the pan is heating up, take out the Mahi Mahi, and use a paper towel to wipe off any excess moisture. Then, throw ¼ tsp. of kosher salt over the Mahi Mahi, followed by a generous sprinkling of paprika. Don’t hold back.
Once you have the Mahi Mahi seasoned, and the stove and oil are hot, place the Mahi Mahi, seasoned side down in the oil. Cook for three minutes on the first side on medium hot, with the dial cranked up towards on the hotter side. While the fish is cooking, season the bland side of the fish with ¼ tsp. of salt and paprika. Then, squeeze half the lemon over the top of the fish. This will impart a bit more moisture and a delightful citrus flavor. After three minutes, flip using a spatula (I prefer silicone spatulas, as they melt at a much higher temperature than plastic.)
While the second side of the fish is cooking, start assembling the crema. Start by scooping the ½ cup of mayonnaise into a small bowl. You can use any kind of mayonnaise, but I like to use olive oil mayonnaise because I tell myself that it’s better for me. Then, squeeze ½ of a lime’s juice into the crema. If you’re trying to be mindful of waste, you can use the other half of the lemon instead of the lime. However, I think the lime tastes a lot better in the crema, and the term “lemon crema” sounds more like a dessert than a tasty pairing for your Mahi. My suggestion is to take the unused lemon and lime halves and transform them into a garnish for your favorite adult beverage. You can also quarter the lemon and lime halves and serve them with the tacos. Returning to the crema, add a dash of red pepper and ¼ tsp. of kosher salt. Trader Joes sells a really tasty, and not-too-spicy ground cayenne pepper, and add the minced garlic. The last thing you’ll add to the crema is the chipotle peppers in adobo and some of the sauce. These peppers are sold in small cans in most large grocery stores as well as Latino grocery stores.
In my Safeway, they’re found in the “Mexican food” section. If you can’t find them. Turn to the internet — you can even buy them on Amazon! I’m serious, just search “chipotle peppers in adobo sauce” and you’ll have many options. These peppers are really spicy and really good. I like spicy food, but I only use one half of one of the peppers, seeded and diced in my crema. Beware of the seeds, and don’t rub your eyes after you chop the pepper. After I put in the diced pepper, I’ll add some of the sauce that the peppers are packed with. That’s the best part. It’s also really spicy. I would start with half a tablespoon, mix the crema up with a spoon, and see if that’s hot enough for you. If not, add more sauce. If it’s too spicy, add more mayonnaise. The adobo peppers and sauce are what really make this dish.
After three minutes, check to see if you Mahi Mahi is cooked. It should be white, without the translucent pink that characterized the uncooked fish. If you can’t tell, transfer the fish to a cutting board, and cut down the center. The cooked fish will be white and warm. If it’s not cooked, give it 2 more minutes on the stovetop. Transfer the fish to the cutting board to relax while you finish up the tacos.
Places two medium-sized tortillas on a plate, and add a handful of greens. I use spinach, arugula, or cabbage – basically whatever is convenient in my fridge. You can’t really taste the greens, but they add a nice crunch and they are good for you. Then, I slice the tomatoes. In the ingredients section, I say I use cherry tomatoes, but you can use whatever tomatoes you like. I buy my tomatoes based on which ones smell the least like plastic.
At this point in time, cut up the fish up in sizes that make sense and put it on top of the greens in the tortillas. Top it with the sliced tomatoes and a generous scoop the chipotle lime crema. Turn back to your broccoli, put that on your plate, and you’ve got dinner. You can also serve this without tortillas to accommodate your grain-phobic and gluten-free friends.