Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos

by Karyl Henry of Karyl’s Kulinary Krusade

It’s no secret that when I first moved to Oklahoma, I refused to eat seafood for the first year. Coming from the east coast, with easy access to fresh seafood, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat seafood in a landlocked state. I eventually got over that, and now I primarily buy frozen seafood from Sam’s and Walmart, or occasionally fresh seafood from Bodean or White River Fish Market in Tulsa.

I eat shrimp, salmon, and cod most often, and incorporate seafood into my diet a few times a week. Old Bay Salmon Cakes are a delicious way to change up my standard salmon dishes, and Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta is a meal in a bowl.

Beer Battered Fish Tacos is one of my most popular recipes on the blog, but now that it’s summer, I wanted a lighter version so I created Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos. 

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • Fish cooks quickly, and you can grill, sear or bake it.
  • The blackening spice adds a wonderful kick of flavors.
  • This easy recipe can be on the table in under 20 minutes. 

HOW TO BUY FRESH FISH

First and foremost, a reputable fish market will never sell you bad fish! Good fishmongers want to help you make the best selection and will even give you tips and recommendations, so use their expertise. 

  • Fish should smell fresh, like the sea…if it smells “fishy”, it’s not fresh.
  • Fish should be firm, bounce back to touch, and should never feel slimy.
  • If you buy a whole fish, make sure the eyes are clear, and not cloudy. Also, check the scales and make sure they are bright, not dull.

Can I use something other than Mahi Mahi? Yes! Any firm, mild white fish will do. Cod, halibut, and haddock are great substitutions.

COOKING YOUR MAHI MAHI

I use a Grill Pan. The fillets are only about 1″ thick so they will cook quickly, no more than two minutes per side. Before adding the fish to the grill pan, I spray it with Avocado Oil Spray to prevent sticking. 

You can also sear the fish in a cast iron skillet; I use a little bit of Avocado Oil to prevent sticking.

Another option is to bake the fish, but for how quickly it cooks it’s not worth the time it takes to heat up the oven.

HOMEMADE BLACKENING SPICE

When I first learned to cook I relied on store-bought spice mixes and sauces. But then they sat in the fridge or pantry half-used for months, and eventually got thrown away. Then I figured out how to make a few of my own, and it was life changing! The blackening spice is simple to make, and I know exactly what’s in it.

TOPPING FOR BLACKENED MAHI MAHI TACOS

A citrusy, tropical style topping is a perfect compliment to Mahi Mahi, so I make an easy mango salsa.

  • Fresh diced mango when it’s in season; thawed frozen mango otherwise.
  • Diced cucumber, red onion, and red bell pepper.
  • Chopped parsley and fresh-squeezed lime juice.

How to select the best mangoes:

  • Gently squeeze the mango;  a ripe mango will give slightly.
  • Not all mangoes change color as they ripen! 
  • Ripe mangoes will sometimes have a fruity aroma at the stem end.

EASY STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR BLACKENED MAHI MAHI TACOS

PREPARE MANGO SALSA

In a bowl, add mango, cucumber, red onion, red bell pepper, and parsley. Add freshly squeezed lime juice, and mix well to combine. Set in fridge to rest while you prepare the fish. 

PREPARE MAHI MAHI

Cut the Mahi Mahi fillet in half lengthwise, and then in half crosswise, for 4 pieces of fish per 4oz fillet. Squeeze fresh lime juice over fish and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Season fish pieces with blackening spice. A little goes a long way, and you don’t want the spice to overpower the tacos.

Heat the grill or grill pan, then spray lightly with Avocado Oil Spray so that the fish doesn’t stick. Cook the fish for 2 minutes per side, and transfer fish to a platter. 

ASSEMBLE THE TACOS

You can use Flour Tortillas or Corn Tortillas, whichever you prefer. I add 4 pieces of fish per tortilla, top with mango salsa, and finish with another squeeze of fresh lime juice.

STORAGE AND LEFTOVERS

I’m not a fan of reheating fish, because I don’t think it ever tastes the same. And with how quickly the fish cooks, you can make a fresh batch each time. 

For the mango salsa, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

Ingredients

  • 8 Mahi Mahi fillets (4 oz each)
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 3 limes

Mango Salsa

  • 2 large mangoes, diced (instructions in notes)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, minced

Blackening Spice

  • 1 3/4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine mangoes, cucumber, red onion, red bell pepper, and parsley. Add the juice of 2 limes, and mix well to combine. Set aside in the fridge to rest.
  2. In a small bowl, combine blackening spice ingredients, and set aside.
  3. Cut Mahi Mahi in half lengthwise, and then each piece in half crosswise. You will end up with 32 pieces. Add the juice of 1 lime, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4.  Season fish pieces with blackening spice. Don’t go overboard, or the fish will be SPICY!
  5. Heat the grill pan to medium, and spray with Avocado Oil spray to prevent sticking. Add fish pieces and cook for 2 minutes per side. Transfer fish to a platter.
  6. Assemble the tacos. Place 4 pieces of fish in a tortilla. Top with mango salsa. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and, if desired, a little more chopped parsley

Notes

PICKING MANGOES:

  • Mangoes soften as they ripen, so look for a mango that gives slightly with a gentle squeeze.
  • Not all mangoes change color as they ripen! 

CUTTING MANGOES: 

  • Lay mango flat on cutting board, with the stem at the top.
  • Cut vertically 1/4″ from the midline on the right.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Discard the middle, as that is the seed.
  • Cut the flesh in a grid pattern, without going through the skin.
  • Use a large spoon to scoop out the mango pieces.

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