Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi With Lime Marinade

Jen Hoy
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

Mahi mahi  is a species of dolphin, not to be confused with the delightful mammal dolphin that dances on the water on its tail, chattering away. In fact, this fish was always called dolphin until the Hawaiians decided they had to differentiate between the two species so they renamed the edible version mahi mahi. These fish are native to tropical and subtropical waters. They're at their best in May, although they're available — and very good — from mid-spring through late summer.  

This easy recipe for pan-seared mahi mahi with lime marinade makes a perfect warm-weather dinner. When you want something quick, easy and delicious — in other words, you don’t want to slave away in a hot kitchen — this dish works just as well on the grill. 

What You'll Need

  • Four 6-ounce mahi mahi fillets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped very fine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Generous splash of dry white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 bunch of watercress, large stems removed
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 12 green Spanish or Cerignola olives
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

How to Make It

  1. Place the fish in a rectangular baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, olive oil and wine in a small bowl. Pour the marinade mixture over the fish, turning to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the fillets from the marinade and sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and brown the fillets until they're just opaque in the center, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. 
  1. Divide the watercress among 4 plates. Arrange the tomato slices, the olives and a lime wedge on each plate. Place a fillet on top of the watercress and serve.  

Tips and Variations

  • If it's too hot to fuss in the kitchen, cook the fillets on an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Place them rounded side down and grill for about 5 minutes or until you can lift a fillet without it sticking to the grill. Gently turn the fillets over and cook for an additional 5 minutes on the other side. 
  • Whether you prepare the mahi mahi on the stove or on a grill, take care not to overcook it. This is a somewhat fatty fish, but it will still become dry if overcooked. 
  • Cilantro pesto, salsa verde or Romesco sauce are all great toppings for this simple dish. Spoon any of them over the fillets after you've arranged them on plates. 
  • Serve with zesty guacamole or salsa cruda and tortilla chips, or with roasted asparagus, steamed corn on the cob, Mexican-style grilled corn or spicy corn salad