Blackened mahi mahi is a delicious, spicy fish dish that’s quick to prepare but takes time to cook through.
With this recipe, you will learn how to make blackened mahi mahi.
What Is Blackened Mahi Mahi?
A blackened mahi mahi dish involves frying or baking a fillet of fish with an aromatic seasoning mixture until crisp on the outside.
It’s then served as a meal complete with vegetables, rice, and sides like coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni salad.
The name “mahi mahi” comes from Hawaiian language, which means “good eating.”
This term was given because these types of fish are considered excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
They also have low levels of mercury and other toxins.
Most people enjoy them grilled, broiled, baked, sautéed, or poached.
However, they can be used in many different ways, including making sandwiches, salads, and even soups.
What Are The Ingredients In A Blackened Mahi Mahi Recipe?
You can use any type of fish in your blackened mahi mahi recipe.
However, we recommend using boneless, skinless mahi mahi fillets because they tend to be less expensive than whole fish or pieces of meat such as tuna steaks.
- Boneless, skinless mahi mahi fillets (or other white-fleshed fish)
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Blackening spice mix
The blackened mahi mahi recipe calls for a few additional ingredients that enhance its flavor profile.
These include paprika, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and cilantro.
This ingredient adds extra depth of flavor to the final product.
Paprika contains both capsaicin, which gives peppers their hotness, and piperine, an alkaloid that increases absorption of nutrients into the body.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and swelling from inflammation.
Fresh lemons add bright citrusy acidity to dishes like this one.
Their tanginess pairs well with the smokiness of the paprika and garlic powder while adding some zip to the overall taste of the finished dish.
Adding healthy fats helps keep you satiated so that you don’t overeat when eating this dish.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health.
Cilantro’s peppery notes pair beautifully with the sweetness of the mango and coconut milk.
Cilantro leaves have been known to contain antioxidants, which may protect against cancer cell growth.
They also provide relief from cold symptoms.
And if you’re looking for ways to get more fiber in your diet, fresh cilantro adds about 5 grams per cup!
How Do You Make Blackened Mahi Mahi?
The first step in making blackened mahi mahi requires preparing the fish itself.
You can buy pre-cut fillets or whole fish from your local grocery store if you prefer.
However, you may also be able to get fresh mahi mahi at your fishmonger.
Before starting with the preparation of the mahi mahi, you should clean them well.
Make sure there are no bones left inside after cleaning the meat.
Also remove any remaining scales using tweezers before washing them thoroughly under cold running water.
Once cleaned, cut each piece into 4 equal pieces so you have 8 total pieces.
Now place the fish on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil and season the entire surface with salt and pepper.
Next, add enough olive oil to coat all sides evenly (about 1/4 cup).
Then use paper towel to spread the oil around the pan until it forms an even layer covering the entire surface.
Place the baking tray in a 400 F oven until the oil has heated up and begins to smoke slightly.
Next, turn off the oven and open the door a little so the steam escapes.
Take one of the slices of the mahi mahi and rub it across the hot surface until a dark crust forms.
Once a small amount of charring appears, return the cooked mahi mahi back to the oven for 3 minutes to finish cooking.
Repeat this process for each slice of the fish.
Now let the fish cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
When ready to serve, unwrap the fish and pat dry with paper towels.
Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
Set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
What Is The Difference Between Blackened Mahi Mahi And Regular Mahi Mahi?
The first thing you should know about blackened mahi mahi is that it’s not just another way of serving up mahi mahi.
Blackening is an intense spice rub that gives the fish its distinctive flavor.
The blackened mahi mahi recipe on this page calls for three types of seasoning — cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
These are all common ingredients used in many different dishes as well as sauces and marinades.
That means there’s plenty left over after making your blackened mahi mahi.
As with any good meal, the key to eating healthy is choosing foods that have less fat and calories than others.
When buying seafood like mahi mahi, you want to choose those with low levels of saturated fats (the kind found in butter).
So if you don’t want to eat too much fat when having blackened mahi mahi, opt for the regular variety instead.
It also helps to stick to lean proteins such as chicken or turkey since they contain fewer calories per ounce compared to fatty meats like beef or pork.
You can find regular mahi mahi at most grocery stores.
They come frozen and usually sold filleted whole, which means you need to cut them apart yourself.
If you prefer, you could buy fresh mahi mahi from your favorite local fishmonger.
Blackened mahi mahi is more involved because it requires extra preparation before putting it into the oven.
You start off with cleaning the fish, then marinating it in a mixture of seasonings.
After preheating your oven, you place the fish inside and let it sit while it cooks until it reaches perfection.
Why Is Blackened Mahi Mahi So Popular?
The key to making this dish is using very hot peppers.
When they’re used in large quantities, like we do here, their smoky flavor really stands out against the milder flavors of the fish itself.
These peppers also give the sauce an intense kick.
You’ll see from our reviews below that most people love this dish when served as part of a meal or paired with rice and veggies (which is what I prefer).
- 1 pound fresh skinless mahimi mahi filet
- ½ cup paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon coriander powder
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
Step one: Prepare your grill. To get started, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Once the grill has reached temperature, brush any excess ash off of the grates.
Then wipe down the grate again if necessary.
Next, set up all of the ingredients on a cutting board near the grill.
Start by placing the fillets on top of each other.
Next, add the paprika and sprinkle it evenly across both sides of the fish.
Lastly, use a spoon to mix together all of the remaining spices and seasonings until everything is coated in the mixture.
Add the olive oil, garlic, and water to a small bowl and whisk them together.
Once combined, pour the marinade onto the fish and let the pieces sit while you prep the rest of the dinner.
Once everything is ready, place the fish directly on the grill.
Cook for about five minutes per side, depending upon the thickness of the fish.
Afterward, remove the fish from the grill and serve immediately.
You may notice that some parts of the fish have turned a darker color than others.
That’s because the spice rub burns off during the initial cooking process.
As soon as the fish comes out of the oven, take a look at it.
If there’s still dark spots throughout, just pop the whole thing back inside the oven for another few minutes.
When you remove the fish from the oven, you should have something that looks similar to this photo.
What Are Some Other Recipes That Can Be Made With Blackened Mahi Mahi?
If you love seafood, then you definitely want to try out one of these recipes from our list of best seafood recipes.
From Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos to Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi, there’s something here for every kind of eater!
What Are Some Tips For Making The Perfect Blackened Mahi Mahi?
The key to preparing a good batch of blackened mahi mahi is to use fresh ingredients.
If possible, buy your fish whole rather than fillet it, as they tend to have more flavor.
It’s also important not to skip step 2, which requires seasoning the fish before putting it in the pan.
You want to ensure all surfaces of the fish get coated in spice mixture so the fish cooks evenly.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can substitute an oven proof non-stick skillet or even put the fish directly on the grill instead of first browning it in oil.
A gas stovetop works best if you aren’t using a wok because you need the ability to move the food around without burning yourself.
Use tongs whenever possible.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making Blackened Mahi Mahi?
If you want to take your skills with blackened mahi mahi up a notch, here are some common mistakes people make when frying their fish.
You may be able to avoid these pitfalls if you know what they are.
- Don’t use too much oil or salt. Blackening food involves intense heat which dries out foods quickly. To prevent this from happening, you need less oil than usual (which can also help reduce calories). If you don’t have enough oil to coat the entire piece of meat, try using more water instead. Also, salt isn’t necessary because most seasoning blends contain plenty of sodium. Soaking the fish first in lemon juice helps draw moisture away so you won’t end up with a soggy mess on your stove top.
- Don’t undercook! Blackened mahi mahi should be cooked through. If at any point during cooking the skin starts to char, cover the pan immediately to keep the fire from spreading. When the center of the fish flakes easily with a fork, it’s ready to eat.
- Don’t overcook! Overcooked fish becomes dry and tough. Make sure you brown the fish before removing it from the hot pan to ensure its flesh stays moist and tender. If you see smoke coming off of the pan after adding additional oil, remove the fish or add an extra minute to allow for the flames to die down.
Make sure your grill is clean.
- Don’t forget the grates! Cleaning the grate of your barbecue is essential to getting good results. Remove excess ash and debris around the outside edge of the grate where grease tends to accumulate. Then wipe the inside surface of the grate with paper towels. Finally wash them both with soap and warm water.
- Use a thermometer! It might seem like common sense, but a temperature gauge is especially important when barbecuing. Not only do you want to maintain a specific internal temperature, but you’ll also want to monitor the color of the fat dripping into the grill as well. A digital thermometer can tell you exactly how hot your coals are, how long your steak has been cooking, and even give you real-time feedback about the quality of the meat itself.
- Watch the sides! Cooking times vary depending on the size of the item being grilled. For example, steaks usually require longer cooking times than burgers. But since the same amount of energy is applied to all items, smaller pieces of food tend to get charred faster than larger ones.
- Keep things moving! Don’t let one side burn while another doesn’t. As soon as one side begins to darken, flip the meat over and move it back onto the other side. If your grill happens to be gas-powered, open all vents to increase airflow.
Prepare your ingredients before beginning to cook.
This can prevent you from wasting food if something goes wrong with one of the steps.
Start by removing any bones or scales on the mahi mahi fillets using scissors.
Next, season both sides of each piece of fish with salt and pepper.
You should also add about 1/4 cup (60 mL) of olive oil to a large skillet so that all the pieces of fish have enough space to brown evenly.
Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the oil starts to smoke, then reduce the temperature to medium-low.
Place the seasoned fish into the hot pan skin side down and cook for two minutes without moving them around too much.
If needed, use tongs to flip the pieces of fish so they don’t stick together in the pan.
Cook another minute per side, depending on thickness.
Remove the cooked fish from the pan after turning the last time and set aside.
Next, sprinkle 1/3 cup (80 mL) of cayenne pepper onto the bottom of the same pan used to cook the fish.
Add 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of paprika and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of garlic powder.
Stir these dry ingredients to combine, then slowly pour in 3 cups (720 mL) of water while stirring constantly.
Once the mixture begins to boil, turn off the burner and let sit for 5 minutes.
Pour the liquid out of the pan and discard everything else.
Place the cleaned pan back on the stovetop at low heat.
To make sure the pan doesn’t burn, keep an eye on it as you stir.
When there is no longer any sign of smoke coming out of the pan, increase the heat to medium-high.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow it to continue heating for 10 more minutes.
While waiting, place three sprigs of fresh rosemary inside a bowl filled with ice and cold water.
After 10 minutes has passed, remove the rosemary from the ice bath and squeeze excess moisture from its leaves.
Roughly chop the rosemary leaves and toss them into the saucepan containing the blackening mixture.
Continue to cook the sauce until it thickens slightly, about five more minutes.
Now that the sauce is ready, place the prepared fish back into the pan and cover tightly with foil.
Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes.
Check on the fish every few minutes to ensure that it isn’t sticking to the pan.
If it does start to get stuck, carefully loosen it with a spatula or spoon.
Cook for another ten minutes, then serve immediately.
If you want to make this recipe even tastier, try adding other flavors to the sauce like red wine vinegar or lemon juice.
It is best served with rice pilaf or mashed potatoes.
- 1 Bowl
- 1 lb mahi mahi
- 2 tsp blackened fish seasoning
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- The fish should be rinsed and dried with paper towels.
- Combine the spices in a small bowl, then set it aside.
- Cast iron skillets or frying pans should be heated over high heat until they begin to smoke. Make sure the kitchen is well-ventilated.
- Mahi Mahi should be coated on both sides with the spice mixture after being tossed in melted butter. To make the spice mixture stick, press.
- As soon as possible, sear on high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the center is cooked to the desired doneness. Avoid overcooking as it will become dry. Steamed rice and lemon slices should be served right away.