Friday, July 8, 2016

Curtis Stone's Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Pico de Gallo

I probably make fish tacos once a week and they are my go-to meal when I have house guests or company over. They are healthy, quick and easy, colorful, and usually don't fail to please unless I have fish haters--in which case I usually make fish tacos for me and feed the haters slow cooker kalua pork tacos. I have been looking at Curtis Stone's fish taco recipe for a while now--it's different from mine, because I usually whip up a dry seasoning spice mix for my fish and rarely bother to make pico de gallo. Since I had a couple of local mahi mahi fillets in my freezer, it seemed like a good time to try it. 

I made a few small changes to the recipe--like using my grill pan on the stove top and using purple cabbag--because the heads were smaller than the green cabbage and I wasn't feeling the commitment to buying a whole head of cabbage and following through on using it up. ;-) I also chose to use my favorite taco condiment--red curry mayo (recipe link below) instead of the Mexican crema or sour cream in the recipe. Finally, because I am lazy and because they work so well in marinades, I used Dorot garlic and cilantro frozen cubes--defrosted and dissolved into olive oil for the marinade. No fine chopping/crushing and they really coat the fish well with the oil oil. I get them at Whole Foods and almost always have the garlic, ginger, cilantro and basil cubes in my freezer. 

Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Pico De Gallo
Slightly Adapted from
(Serves 4)
1 lb fresh mahi mahi, cut into 4-ounce fillets
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (I used Dorot chopped cilantro cubes)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (I used Dorot crushed garlic cubes)
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp (about) canola oil, for brushing grill
8 corn tortillas
1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced (I used purple cabbage)
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
1/3 cup crema mexicana or stirred sour cream (I used my red curry mayo sauce)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
(I added kernels of fresh Ewa corn to garnish)
4 lime wedges

Pico de Gallo:
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 red jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp (about) fresh lemon juice

Marinate Mahi Mahi: Lay the mahi mahi on a platter. Scatter the chopped cilantro and garlic over the fish, then drizzle with the olive oil. Gently massage the marinade into the fish and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate to marinate for up to 6 hours.

Make Pico de Gallo: In a medium bowl, stir the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño chile, and cilantro. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt; set aside at room temperature while finishing the tacos.

Make the Tacos: Heat grill pan or barbecue to medium high. Brush pan or grill grate with canola oil, then place the fish on top. Grill the fish until it is cooked through and opaque and golden brown with grill marks, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a cutting board and let rest for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas on the grill until they are heated through. (I toast mine over a gas burner on the stove) Transfer the tortillas to a clean towel to keep warm.

Slice the fish into about 1-inch strips. Divide the fish among the warm tortillas. Top with the cabbage, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and crema. Scatter the cilantro leaves over the tacos. Serve with the lime wedges. (Deb's note: I always start with the cabbage and avocado on the bottom,pico de gallo, then the fish, more pico de gallo and other small garnishing toppings. I think the fish with grill marks is the best part of a fish taco and I don't like it buried under everything else!)

Make Ahead Tips: The mahi mahi can marinate for up to 6 hours, covered and refrigerated. The pico de gallo can be made up to 2 hours ahead, covered and kept at cool room temperature. 

Notes/Results: These tacos had really great flavor--smoky from the grill, fresh, garlicky and herby, sweet, tangy and a little kick of heat. I admit to overfilling these tacos a bit--but being messy to eat just doesn't matter when they taste so darn good! I liked the garlic and cilantro marinade which was really easy with the Dorot cubes stirred into the olive oil. The pico de gallo reminded me how good a really fresh and simple condiment can be and I have been happily scooping up the leftovers with corn chips. These are not as avocado forward as I would like. The stores all had a miserable selection of single avocados this week and so I bought a mesh bag of four and despite my careful choosing of the bag for ripeness, intact stems on the end, etc., ALL of them were bad! (I took photos and am going back to the store to get my {ridiculous!} $6.99 back.) They were hard and brown and rotten all the way through--VERY disappointing! I managed to shave of about 1/3 of one of the four for the photos, the only green parts, but ended up leaving the slices on the plate as they didn't taste good. The corn however was a nice touch--sweet, raw and crunchy--and it made for a nice texture contrast. As mentioned, I make a lot of fish tacos already, but I would definitely make Curtis's recipe again. And, since it flavored and livened up the mahi mahi so nicely, even if I wasn't making tacos--I would use the marinade again with a piece of simple grilled fish for a salad, or to eat on its own.

Linking this post to this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs 'On the Barbie!' theme--Curtis Stone recipes from the grill (or grill pan!). You can see what grilled recipes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post. 

Also, since I was just reading a book where there is an argument about whether a taco is a sandwich and because I definitely classify it as one, I am linking this post up to this week's Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays post here at Kahakai Kitchen. If you aren't familiar, Souper Sundays is my weekly soup tribute that includes sandwiches, and salads and is open to anyone and everyone who wants to share a soup, salad, or sandwich post that week. You can see the details for joining in on a weekly post or here--we would love to have you!



  1. Even though I'm not a fan of fish, those look good. I have had fish tacos at Bahama Breeze that were good, so maybe I'll try this.

    1. I hope you try and like them. I think with fish taco there is so much flavor going on that even those that don't usually like fish can enjoy them. ;-)

  2. You can't go wrong with Curtis Stone. These look amazing. I am on the hunt for the best fish tacos here and recently had some at a recommended place in Tallahassee. They weren't that good. These look AH-mazing and I want to be a guest at your place if you serve these bad boys!!

    Are you linking to Beth Fish Reads this week? Everyone should know about these tacos.

    1. Thanks Tina! You should make them! I linked up a book review to BFR this week figuring I had these at IHCC and Souper Sundays. ;-)

  3. I never had fish tacos. These look great and I head to google mahi mahi, what a nice name for a "golden mackerel"

    1. Interesting! I have never heard of it being called or being mackerel and they are not mackerel-like in flavor or texture. Its other name here and on the mainland is usually 'dolphin fish' (although not a mammal like, or related to dolphin) and sometimes dorado. I'll have to look into it. Anyway, if you don't have access to mahi mahi, any mild white fish will work. ;-)

  4. We really need to make fish tacos 'round here. My go-to uses fried fish and I think this grilled version is not only healthier (obviously) but more delicious!

  5. A whole lot of good things come together in these fish tacos! They're often on our menu as well, with all the great local fish here.

  6. Those tacos are just brimming with deliciousness! This was one of the first Curtis recipes I flagged because it looked so good even on paper.

  7. There are so many wonderful ingredients in this taco. No wonder it tastes so good. Mahi Mahi, red curry mayo and pico de gallo. Mouthwatering just thinking about them.

  8. I've been thinking a lot about making fish tacos this summer. This recipe looks delicious. I also love Dorot products. I haven't seen the ginger cubes lately, but now I know to look at Whole Foods.

  9. This looks really good! I like all the ingredients that makes this taco. It has been so long since I last had any tacos. Your tacos makes such a healthy and delicious dish for any meal of the day!


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