Make a quick culinary escape to the tropics with this light, fresh and healthy Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto! Great for a weeknight or date night, it’s ready in about 30 minutes!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
This recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto is:
- Perfect for a weeknight or date night dinner.
- Easy with simple techniques so great for a beginner cook.
- Can be done in about 30 minutes.
- Partially make-ahead. The pesto can be done up to 1 day ahead.
- Crazy flavorful!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Also called dolphinfish or Dorado, this popular wild-caught fish is better known as Mahi-mahi, its Hawaiian name which helps to distinguish it from dolphins (which it is not). Mahi-mahi is a fish and dolphins are mammals. It’s wild-caught, grows quickly and is available year-round.
First, remove the skin or have the fishmonger do it. The skin is tough and inedible however the fact that it is tough makes it easy to remove. A sharp, thin fillet knife will make it easy. Then, remove any bones. Run your fingers over the fillets. Any bones will be easily felt and stick up so you can easily remove them with your fingers or with tweezers. Finally, remove the bloodline. The bloodline is that red line that runs down the middle of the fillet. It’s safe to eat but will have a fishier taste compared to the rest of the fish. If that concerns you, remove it with a thin, sharp knife.
The flavor is mild and sweet but the texture is dense like swordfish.
Absolutely! If you’re looking to add more healthy protein to your diet, give mahi-mahi a try! Mahi-mahi is lean, low in calories, rich in B-12, potassium and omega-3’s. Here’s all the nutritional information from Livestrong.com.
Any type of white, flaky fish will work such as halibut, sea bass, cod, grouper or swordfish. Can’t do fish? The Cilantro – Ginger Pesto is also great with chicken!
How to Make Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe along with how to prep. See the mahi-mahi recipe card below for the exact quantities.
- Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-mahi s available year-round so you can often find it fresh in the fish counter. Whole Foods sells it in pre-cut, individually-wrapped fillets in 2-pound bags in their frozen seafood area.
- Ginger: Prepared ginger is available in the produce area in tubes and squeeze bottles. However, nothing compares to fresh ginger! This recipe makes fresh ginger easy to use: Peel it, chop it and place it in your food processor as part of the pesto.
- Macadamia Nuts: Rich in nutrients, Macadamia nuts are tree nuts that have a subtle, butter-like flavor and creamy texture so they’re perfect in pesto. They’re available raw or roasted. For this recipe, I like the full flavor of roasted and salted. Just be careful about adding additional salt.
- Jalapeno Peppers: Most of the heat is found in the seeds and membranes so remove them if you don’t care for a lot of heat. If you’re really not into the heat of hot chili peppers, leave it out as the ginger adds a little kick.
- Canola Oil: Any neutral oil can be used such as vegetable, grapeseed or avocado.
- Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- While making the pesto, give the mahi-mahi a quick soak/brine in water with lime juice and salt.
- Combine the ingredients for the Cilantro – Ginger Pesto in a food processor then process until smooth.
- MAKE AHEAD: The pesto can be made ahead a day ahead of time. Refrigerate until needed.
- Remove the fish from the brine and pat dry.
- Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat then drizzle with a little oil.
- Season the mahi-mahi with salt and black pepper.
- Grill the mahi-mahi for approximately 4-5 minutes on the first side or until you can see that the edges are turning opaque (the edges look cooked).
- Flip the fish then grill another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
- Serve the fish over jasmine rice topped with the pesto!
- Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
- Easy, easy!!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- I like to place fish in a light, slightly acidic brine for a short period of time–10 to 15 minutes is enough–otherwise the acid may “cook” the fish. Salt has a powerful chemical ability to retain juices within fish and meat during cooking and the mild acidity will help neutralize anything “fishy” starting to happen.
- Cilantro can be a pretty persnickety herb with a short refrigerator life. Most cilantro is placed under sprinklers in the grocery store to keep it fresh, but storing it with that moisture or any dirt on it will accelerate its spoilage. Here’s how to extend the life of fresh cilantro:
- When you first bring it home, wash it thoroughly. Do that by submerging it in a bowl of cold water and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.
- Remove the cilantro and discard the water. Any dirt will have fallen to the bottom.
- Rinse the bowl, fill with cool water again and swish the cilantro around.
- Repeat until you don’t see any more grit at the bottom of the bowl.
- Vigorously shake it out to remove excess water.
- Prop the cilantro up in the bowl you used and let it airdry for an hour or so.
- Fill a jar or glass with fresh water.
- Trim the bottom stems of the cilantro and place it in the jar/glass.
- Place a zipper-top or another plastic bag over the cilantro and store it in your refrigerator.
- The clean, dry cilantro should keep for a good week. It also helps to change the water at least once. And, because you already washed and dried it thoroughly, it will be ready to use when you need it!
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Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro – Ginger Pesto
- 2 fillets (6-8 ounce) mahi-mahi - skinned, bones and bloodline removed
- 2 tablespoons lime juice - divided, plus more as needed
- 2 bunches cilantro - thoroughly washed and dried, with stems
- 1 large jalapeno pepper - seeded if desired
- 2 tablespoon minced ginger - approximately a 1-inch piece from a thick hand
- 3 cloves garlic - chopped
- ½ cup macadamia nuts - raw or roasted and salted
- ½ cup canola oil - or vegetable oil, plus more for grill pan
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- Hot, cooked jasmine rice - for serving
- Lime wedges - for serving
- Place the mahi-mahi in a small bowl and cover with cold tap water. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Let that sit for 10 minutes while making the pesto.
- Combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, macadamia nuts and canola oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning with additional lime juice and salt and black pepper to taste.
- Brush a grill pan with canola or vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.
- Season the mahi-mahi fillets with salt and black pepper.
- Place the side that had the skin on the grill pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you can see the edges of the fish becoming translucent.
- Flip the fish and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, being careful to not overcook.
- Serve over hot, cooked jasmine rice. Spoon the pesto over the fish. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.