These tips will take the guesswork out of preparing a Hawaiian favorite.

By Sawyer Riley
February 03, 2005
Jean Allsopp

While mahi mahi delights the palate in many of the hottestrestaurants in the country, it probably doesn't top your regulargrocery list. Americans tend to buy more traditional fishvarieties, but mahi mahi is not as mysterious as its exotic nameimplies.

The name, from Hawaiian origins, means "strongstrong"―perhaps referring to the species' agility in tropicaland subtropical waters. This fish also appears on menus as doradoor dolphinfish, but mahi mahi isn't at all similar to dolphin, amammal. Some people consider mahi mahi one of the world's mostbeautiful fish because of the spectrum of yellows, blues, andgreens that glistens along its body. When cooked correctly, ittastes as good as it looks.

• Don't be afraid to ask your fishmonger questions.Because of some progressive movements such as Country of OriginLabeling (COOL), information―including the location and timeof harvest for your specific fish―may soon be availablenationwide.

• Fillets should smell like the ocean, not "fishy."

• Look for firm fish―as it ages, the muscle softensand becomes mushy. Mahi mahi should have a consistently pinkishcolor. Avoid any fish that appears brown or has darkermarkings.

• "Keep it clean, keep it cold, and keep it moving" is abasic rule to keep seafood fresh. ("Keep it moving" means consumingit shortly after purchase.)

• The proper temperature for storing fish is 32º,which is colder than most refrigerators. Store fish on ice near thebottom rear of your refrigerator to maintain a constanttemperature.

• If you are cooking frozen mahi mahi, thaw it in yourrefrigerator or under cold water. Forcing the temperature to changetoo quickly by using warm water or exposing it to high heat maycause spoilage.

• Clean all surfaces before and after handling fish toavoid contamination.

• A good serving-size estimate is 4 ounces for a firstcourse and 6 ounces for a main course, but your fishmonger will beable to help you choose the amount you need.

• Mahi mahi is ready to eat when the meat turns white andflakes easily, regardless of the cooking method.

• Similar choices include bluefish, mackerel, mako shark,pompano, striped bass, and tuna. Substitute any of these fish inmahi mahi recipes for variety.

We have included seven printable recipes for you to try at home.Two of the recipes include mahi mahi, while the others are writtenfor other species. Simply use mahi mahi as the main ingredient forthese recipes to explore new uses for this versatile fish.