Mistaken Identity or Seafood Delicacy in Disguise?

This colorful fish has more aliases than a spy from Tom Clancy’s novels. Along most of the Atlantic coastline it’s called Dolphin or Dolphinfish. On the West coast and parts of the Gulf of Mexico it’s Dorado. In Hawaii it’s known as Mahi Mahi. The Hawaiian name is starting to catch on in other parts of the U.S. presumably because of the confusion caused by the name “Dolphin”. In an age where protecting the mammal is environmentally sound, making the distinction between the two animals on a seafood menu has become increasingly important.

SeafoodIn the open ocean the Mahi Mahi zips through the water flashing its vibrant array of colors from bright, neon yellow to metallic turquoise, green, and purple! Most live to be four years old and between 30 and 40 pounds. The fish’ diet primarily consists of crustaceans at the larvae and juvenile stage, but eventually changes to include flying fish, jacks, and mackerel. The Dolphinfish even considers its own juveniles to be a seafood delicacy, but the population is maintained by year round spawning. Unlike other fish of its size, it pairs up with a single mate instead of participating in communal spawning.

The Mahi Mahi is a valuable commodity in the commercial fishing industry bringing in more than 1,100 tons annually. Its abundant numbers are consistently monitored year round and currently indicate sustainable, long-term harvesting. The delicate white flesh is flaky and has a mild flavor. As a big gamefish it ranks in the second lowest category for mercury contamination making it one of the safest and healthiest fish you can eat. The American Heart Association recommends that you consume at least one serving of seafood a week and next to shellfish, Mahi Mahi is a great choice!


Photo by NOAA

Here at the restaurant we consider Mahi Mahi a special seafood treat caught by local vendors which is why you won’t see it as a regular menu item, but it is often featured as our “fresh catch of the day”. Depending on whether you prefer it broiled, sautéed, or fried, you will want to choose a beverage that doesn’t compete with its mild flavor. We recommend Santa Margherita if you order it broiled, Groth Sauvignon Blanc if you’re enjoying it sautéed, and Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay if you like it fried. Beer drinkers will want to try broiled Mahi Mahi with Stella Artois, Blue Moon if your fish is sautéed, and Anchor Steam when you order it fried. Like we mentioned in our last post, don’t forget the side dishes! Our creamed spinach and cottage fries are perfect for broiled fish, grilled tomatoes and rice pilaf with our sautéed version, and sweet potato fries and asparagus with hollandaise sauce if you have it fried.

If we’re serving Mahi Mahi the next time you visit us or we happen to be selling it in our seafood market, make sure you try it with the suggested items we mentioned above. Your taste buds will thank you down to the very last bite!

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