Mahi-mahi, dorado, and dolphinfish are all names for the same species of ray-finned fish found often in the waters of Hawaii, Costa Rica, and the Gulf of Mexico. When cooked just until it flakes, mahi-mahi flesh is firm, moist, mild, and slightly sweet. Here it’s served in a burger format with roasted poblano peppers, avocado, and garlicky cumin mayo. A piece of fresh red leaf lettuce provides a nice crunch and a slight bitterness to round out all of the flavors.
Using skin-on mahi-mahi filets helps the fish to stand up to grilling, and, whether grilled or pan-fried, the skin provides a small buffer between the heat and the meat which promotes slower, more even cooking. Still, use moderate heat to avoid overcooking this delicate fish, while also aiming for crispy skin. Buy fresh filets if you can, but frozen and defrosted filets will work fine too.
These “burgers” are super flavorful and come together quickly. They’re an excellent way to add some variety to your household’s weekly menu or to offer as a meat alternative at your next barbecue. Pair them with homemade sweet potato chips, a Southwest black bean and corn salad or spicy sweet potato fries, and accompany with a cold beer, crisp white wine, or perhaps a fun cocktail.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 4 brioche hamburger buns
- 4 (6-ounce) mahi-mahi fillets, skin on
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 medium poblano peppers, fire-roasted, peeled and seeded, 1/4-inch dice
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 leaves red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
Gather the ingredients.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper until well combined.
Lightly toast the brioche buns.
Season the mahi-mahi with salt and pepper. Grill or pan-fry the filets over medium heat, flipping once, until the flesh starts to flake and the skin is crispy, 6 to 10 minutes.
Smear the toasted halves of the buns with the spiced mayonnaise. On the bottom bun, place the diced poblanos followed by the cooked mahi-mahi. Top the fish with a few slices of avocado. Season the avocado with salt and a squeeze of lemon. Finish the burgers with a slice of lettuce and the top bun. Serve immediately.
- Toasting and grinding the whole cumin yourself gives the mayo a deeper flavor than using pre-ground cumin.
- The poblano peppers can be roasted, peeled, and diced ahead of time. Canned chiles can be used in a pinch.
- A Microplane is a great way to finely grate the garlic, helping to disperse its flavor through the mayo.￼
- Add a little extra flavor to the mahi-mahi with your choice of spice blend.