Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 20, 2013 10:40 AM

Help a fish newbie out

So I am not that familiar with fish, both cooking and eating. I do know I'm not really into "fishy" fish, like salmon or mackerel, but I like light fish like mahi mahi or halibut. Tuna is OK too. My store has wild caught fresh mahi mahi filets on sale this week so I'd like to try it at home, I've literally cooked fish (salmon) once at home.

I'm guessing that any recipe I find for lighter fish can be interchangeable?
For example, the COTM has a simple looking trout recipe that has lemon, brown butter, and parsley. This should be fine with mahi mahi, right?

I'd also be interested to hear in your other favorite ways to prepare mahi mahi, on the simple side since I'd most likely be making this on Friday night after work. I will do asparagus and roasted potatoes as sides.

Lastly, how do you know when fish is done, but not overly so?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Mahi Mahi is great grilled with some olive oil and S&P.

    1. I made this cod recipe and it was terrific. I did the leeks also but you wouldn't have to.

      2 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        There were some comments on this recipe that covering it, as per the recipe, didn't allow the fish to get crusty on the bottom. Did you cover it?

        1. re: juster

          I did and it did :) Dark? No. But I really liked it and should fix it again soon.

      2. That should be okay, but it wouldn't be my first choice for Mahi. When interchanging fish recipes, you want to stick with similar varieties in either type or flavor. Thin trout filets aren't remotely like Mahi in either thickness, taste, or texture.

        I'd look for recipes that involve thicker & more flavorful fish like Halibut or Cod. The cooking times will be more in sync, as will seasoning, etc. (And there also are plentiful Mahi recipes out there as well - why are you looking at one for trout?).

        As for how I enjoy Mahi - I enjoy it most often brushed with melted butter & sprinkled with Jerk seasoning & some fresh lime juice, then simply baked or broiled until "just" done. (NEVER overcook fish!). But you can use any type of seasoning that appeals to you. Mahi can take stronger seasonings & sauces than wimpier white fish.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1

          I just looked at the trout recipe because it's in the COTM and I want to make more things out of the book. Plus I already have all the ingredients (minus the fish) from that recipe. But I'm not stuck on cooking from the book. I have this recipe for halibut, it should work ok right? I was saving it in case halibut ever became affordable for me (ha ha ha, like that'll happen).

          I would love to grill the fish but it's not grilling weather at all here (cold and windy).

          I recently had mahi at a restaurant w/ chimichurri sauce and it was good, but my SO can't handle a ton of herbs like that due to his Crohn's, they really mess him up. The jerk seasoning idea sounds nice though.

          1. re: juliejulez

            I've never understood "grilling weather" :) We used to live in the PacificNW and grilled in the pouring rain, standing under an umbrella. Now we live in snow country. The grill itself is under an eave of the house but the grill-ER isn't. That's why parkas have hoods :)

            1. re: c oliver

              my DH grills year round here in Philly - snow, sleet and freezing rain! :)

              1. re: c oliver

                Rib-Eyes/Porter Houses grilled in a Severe Southern Thunderstorm with the lightning lightnin and the thunder crashing are awesome!! ~~ Guarantee you want over cook them. ;)

                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  I grew up in the South and that remains one of my guilty pleasures. We now live where thunderstorms are summer events and therefore fire danger. But always short-lived so we can still dash out to grill. I'm not sure we've ever overcooked a steak :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Yep, as a youngster grilling in a Severe Thunder Storm brought me from 'Medium" to a 'Medium Rare' man. ~~ I suppose if the the Tornado Siren ever goes off while grilling, I'll move all the way to 'Rare' :) ~~ Southern DNA huh? Don'tcha think it's time to come home?

                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      My over the top liberalism doesn't always do so well down there :) But you can never truly take the South out of the girl. Especially when it come to cookin'. Even turned my Westerner husband into a collards, black-eyed peas and grits lover.

                2. re: c oliver

                  The cold isn't as much of an issue as wind is. I live kind of out in the plains in an open area with empty lots on all sides of us, so the wind really picks up, and it makes bbqing to a good result very difficult. IF the flames stay lit (I have a gas grill), they cook very unevenly even with the lid closed.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    Ah, I see. We have a second home with more that type of climate but the grill is in a somewhat protected space.

                3. re: juliejulez

                  I like that recipe much better than the trout idea.

              2. I love mahi mahi grilled, with a mango salsa on top! I can't get decent fresh mangos in Iowa, so just buy the frozen chunks and the salsa still works (and tastes!) great.

                4 Replies
                  1. re: juliejulez

                    I just read that the weather inhibits your grilling - sorry about that! I've also done mahi mahi pretty successfully on my indoor grill pan, if that's an option. I do like the idea of the jerk seasoning a lot! And that mango salsa would still work. :)

                  2. re: iowagirl

                    Yes - I too made it once topped with a Mango salsa. A Mango-Habanero salsa. Talk about heat! But it was also fruity & flavorful at the same time. Was an excellent pairing.

                  3. Yes, a recipe calling for one type of white fish will be fine using another, in my experience.
                    ETA: I don't have any experience cooking trout - my experience is with mahi, cod, turbot, tilapia... which are pretty interchangeable.

                    Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. it also turns more opaque as it cooks. Unless the filets are very thick, 10-15 minutes is usually long enough.

                    my favorite recipe:
                    1 to 1.5lbs of white fish
                    a thinly sliced onion
                    2-3 thinly sliced roma tomatoes
                    cajun seasoning (or other favorite seasonings)
                    butter or evoo

                    heat the butter or evoo in a deep sautee pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally. season the fish with the cajun seasoning and lay on top of the onion. lay on slices of tomato. throw in a splash of white wine, stock or water if the pan looks real dry. cover and cook on med low about 10 minutes, until the fish flakes with a fork.

                    I also like to do fish in a packet - either tin foil or parchment - with some evoo or butter, veggies such as tomato, asparagus and seasonings. doesn't take long in the oven... about 20 minutes IIRC.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jujuthomas

                      Unfortunately the romas in my market are horrendous right now, I made the mistake of buying some a few weeks ago :( But that would be great to make in the summer.

                      I like the idea of the packet... easy clean-up.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        they are all pretty awful right now aren't then! I've made this recipe with all types of tomatoes... when the romas were sad or I forgot to pick some up. it's a pretty flexible recipe - based on one my mom made when we were kids.

                        the packet IS nice tho - a FB friend suggested it one day when I posted that I had fish and asparagus and tomato and was out of recipe ideas. I threw it all in a packet, and there was dinner! :)

                        1. re: jujuthomas

                          A neighbor did basically what you describe minus the tomato and it was great. Canned tomatoes would work. Plus honestly I think sad tomatoes aren't so unhappy when they're cooked. I'll even use them in a salad but I slice them ahead of time and then drizzle with a little oo and some s&p. Seems to perk 'em up a bit.