Rosie Hawthorne’s Recipes: Marvelous Mahi

By on July 21, 2019

One of the perks of living where we do is our access to some of the best seafood in the world.  My son recently went deep-sea fishing and came back with dolphinfish, (aka mahi mahi), a beautiful fish and one of my favorite eating fishes.  From ocean to table in just a few hours, it doesn’t get any fresher than this.

I have two mahi mahi recipes for you:  simple fried mahi and a Southwest-style puffy taco filled with seared mahi.

First, I’m preparing beer-battered and fried bites, served with a side of coleslaw and a duo of dipping sauces – cocktail and remoulade.  My batter is light and crisp and perfectly complements the sweet, succulent meat of the fish.


Beer-Battered Fried Mahi Mahi

Mahi mahi fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces, about 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes

  • For the batter:
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • About a cup of beer

Whisk all dry ingredients together, then slowly stir in beer.  About a cup.  You know – until it “looks right,” like a thin pancake batter.

For the frying oil, I use peanut oil.  It’s a neutral flavored oil and it has a high smoke point.  The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke, burn, and disintegrate.  The higher the smoke point, the more “refined” the oil, meaning fewer impurities in the oil, which can break down and cause the oil to smoke, imparting a burnt flavor to your fried food.

My fry pot is a heavy pot with an 8-inch diameter and a 4-inch depth, with at least 2 inches of oil in it.  Heat the oil to 375°.  (It helps to have an instant read laser thermometer.  Takes the guesswork out of frying.)  As always when frying, never crowd the pan. Food needs breathing room in the pan so the heat and air can circulate around.  Overcrowding decreases the temperature of your oil, causing the breading or batter to absorb the oil, essentially steaming your food, resulting in a greasy, not crisp, product.  In other words, always fry in batches, maintaining the high temperature, to get a golden brown, crisp, and greaseless crust.

Drop the fish pieces into the batter to coat, then pick up each piece individually and let the excess batter drain off before gently easing into the hot oil.  Fry in small batches about 2 minutes, turning, until golden brown.  Drain on a rack.

For the dipping sauces, I have the ubiquitous cocktail sauce and a remoulade sauce.

For the cocktail sauce:

  •  ½ cup ketchup
  •  1-2 TB horseradish
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire.

Amounts are suggestions and a starting point.  Adjust according to your own tastes.   And when I combine these ingredients, I don’t make a homogeneous mixture.  I swirl the ingredients, giving me “pockets of flavors.”

For the remoulade sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 -2 tsp coarse grained mustard
  • 1 tsp Tabasco or Texas Pete
  • ½ tsp Lea & Perrins
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp chopped capers
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 TB thinly sliced scallionsCombine all ingredients.


My next preparation of mahi mahi has a Southwest spin on it.  Years ago, the Hawthornes were in San Antonio, Texas, the heart of Tex-Mex cuisine and the home of the “puffy taco.”  A restaurant meal in that town inspired this dish – seared mahi mahi tucked inside a light and airy puffy taco accompanied by fruit salsa and seasoned sour cream.

For the tacos, instead of the classic corn tortillas made out of raw masa and thrown into the deep fryer, I’m using regular flour tortillas.  The secret to the puff is in the heat.  Pour about ⅛ – ¼ inch peanut oil in a pan and heat it to 400° – 425°.  Carefully, slide the tortilla into the hot oil.  And watch.  The air inside the tortilla is trapped so it blows up like a balloon.  Lightly brown both sides, holding the tortilla with tongs, slightly rolling it to brown evenly.

Fruit Salsa

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and finely chopped
  • Equal amount of fresh, chopped pineapple
  • 2 TB finely chopped sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 TB minced jalapeño
  • 1 TB chopped red onion
  • Juice and zest of ½ lime
  • Mix all ingredients.

Rosie Notes:  As for the jalapeño heat factor, you can make this as hot as you like. The heat is in the white ribs and seeds.  If you don’t want it so hot, avoid these parts and just use the green.  If you don’t grow your own jalapeños and are picking them out of the produce department, here’s a tip on finding hot peppers:  Don’t get a smooth, solid green pepper.  Look for the white, wrinkly lines on the surface of the pepper.  That means it’s HOT!

Sour Cream Sauce

  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 inch cube fresh ginger
  • Juice and zest of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, to taste.

For the ginger, I peel it, slice it, then run it through a garlic press, using all the juice, and the first scrapings of the fresh pulp.  The drier pulp I discard.

Mix all ingredients.

If you’re not a fan of the cilantro, use parsley.

Mint would go nicely with this also.


Southwest-Style Mahi Bites

Mahi mahi, cut into 1-inch cubes

Seasoning mix:

  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a container.

Toss fish bites in the seasoning mix, coating evenly.

Film a skillet with peanut oil and heat to 350° – 375°.  Working in batches, add the pieces one at a time, cooking about 1 minute on each side.  Drain on paper towels.

Bend the puffy tacos, stuff with fish bites, spoon on the fruit salsa, and drizzle with the sour cream sauce.  Serve with lemon or lime slices.


Dare County Animal Shelter

Sealed bids for completion of the Dare County Animal Shelter will be received on February 11, 2020, in the Dare County Administration Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC, for 01-Fencing, 03- Concrete, 04-Masonry, 05-Metals/ Steel, 06-Casework, 07-Roofing, 07-Caulking, 08-Glass and Glazing, 08-Doors, Frames and Hardware, 08-Overhead Doors, 09-Drywall, 09-Flooring, 09-Painting, 10- Specialties, 12-Furnishings, 21-Fire Protection, 23-Mechanical & Plumbing, 26-Electrical, 31-Sitework and 32-Landscaping.

This project will be bid and awarded in accordance with North Carolina law. Sealed proposals from Contractors will be received until 1:00 p.m. All bidders must submit for prequalification by 2:00pm on 2/3/2020. Bids submitted by non-prequalified bidders will not be considered. All bids will be opened and read aloud starting at 2:00 p.m. of the bid day. Bids must be delivered in person and on the supplied Bid Form and include a bid deposit worth 5% of the total bid value. Electronic and faxed bids will NOT be accepted or reviewed. All times are local prevailing times.

Information requests concerning the project shall be submitted in writing to: Alex Palagyi of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company via email (

Bidding material, prequalification material, and complete plans and specifications may be obtained from the Whiting-Turner Building Connected site and will be available until the bid due date. All subcontractors are responsible for emailing Alex Palagyi ( for access to the Building Connected site.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Dare County reserve the right to reject any and all bids, waive informalities and irregularities in bidding, and to accept bids which are considered to be in the best interest of the County. The Whiting Turner Contracting Company and Dare County also reserve the right to require any bidder to submit information needed to determine if said bidder is responsible within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. 143-129.

Recent posts in this category

Recent posts in this category

Comments are closed.