Recently Ranger Craig and I found ourselves without teenagers for a few weeks and decided to take off on our own summer adventure while our girls were away. Of course my idea of summer adventure is somewhat different from Ranger Craig’s. That being said, I was a good sport and decided I needed to increase my level of adventure and jump right in, literally.
I adore nature, the outdoors and all things ocean, so it seemed scuba diving would be a perfect place to begin. As you’ll notice in a photo I’ve included in this post, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. You will detect a bit of fear on my face even through all the scuba diving equipment heaped on my body and my face. Feel free to howl with laughter because that’s what I did when I saw the picture. I eventually conquered my fear of the underwater world and enjoyed the spectacular beauty.
While learning to scuba dive, Ranger Craig and I had the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Maui. We found some of the most wonderful little cafes and deli’s off the main tourists streets that serve some of the best seafood I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. Thanks to our fabulous scuba Instructor, Stan, one of our favorite places for lunch (and a few dinners) was Eskimo Candy Fish Market and Cafe. The fish tacos were prepared with Ono, a fish found in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, and batter fried fish and chips prepared with Opah or Mahi Mahi. The batter was a delicious blend of Island spices and coconut in a smooth beer batter. Honestly, I’ve never tasted a beer batter so flavorful!
Most of the grilled fish were served with an array of tropical fruits and Island spices or coconut reduction sauces that made me want to lick my plate! Of course now that I’m home and cooking in my kitchen I’ve been working to re-create some of these delicious dishes.
I purchased some fresh Mahi Mahi from our local Gemini Fish Market this weekend and intended to create a decadent tropical salsa of sorts. However, as I walked through the produce aisle, the deep red fresh Northwest strawberries were calling my name . The salsa was going to have to include the beautiful strawberries. I must admit, the salsa turned out beautiful and delicious and a fabulous compliment to the grilled Mahi Mahi. This salsa would also taste wonderful over a grilled swordfish or Halibut. I’ve added a few “options” to create variations of this salsa to utilize your regions fresh summer produce.
And a “shout out” to the extremely patient and experienced dive Instructors at B&B Scuba in Kehei on Maui! Thanks Stan for the quality scuba instructions and your recommendation of Eskimo Candy, our new favorite place in Maui! You guys are the best! (Along with the quality scuba instruction, photos are compliments of B&B Scuba! Check them out when you visit Maui.)
Enjoy this delicious taste of summer and check back often for new South Pacific inspired fish recipes. Keep dinner simple… enjoy the flavors of life. Happy Cooking!
4 Mahi Mahi filets or steaks, about 6 ounces each (you can substitute with Swordfish or Halibut)
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 large lime, zested and juiced
1 cup diced strawberries
1/3 cup diced yellow or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup diced sweet onion such as Walla Walla
1 jalapeno, diced (can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chive
1/4 cup toasted coconut (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
1/2 cup diced pineapple (optional)
Preheat the grill to 400F.
In a baking dish or large platter drizzle the fish with olive oil and half the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a medium bowl gently toss together the strawberries, bell pepper, sweet onion, jalapeno, lime zest, cilantro, chive and remaining lime juice. If you are adding the optional ingredients go ahead and add them now.
Place the fish on the grill and sear on both sides. Turn the heat down and grill the fish to desired doneness. I like my fish cooked through but not well done so keep a good eye on the grill while the fish is cooking. Mahi Mahi and Swordfish will take a little longer to cook than Halibut.
When the fish is done, transfer to individual plates or a platter and top with a few tablespoons of salsa. Garnish with additional cilantro or chive.
This dish is fabulous served with grilled sweet potatoes, fresh grilled summer veggies or a salad of fresh greens with a light and simple vinaigrette.