Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Avocado Sauce

updated Jun 16, 2022
summer
Mahi-Mahi Tacos Recipe

Mild mahi-mahi stuffed into warm tortillas with a creamy avocado and red cabbage slaw.

Serves4

Prep35 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

If taco night at your house always involves cheesy quesadillas and ground beef stuffed inside crunchy shells, it is time to try something new. These fish tacos rely on mahi-mahi, a mild fish that soaks up seasonings and cooks quickly on the stovetop. Pile tender pieces of fish into warm tortillas, top with crunchy slaw, and dollop with a cool avocado sauce, and you’re well on your way to a new family classic.

What Is Mahi-Mahi?

Mahi-mahi is a lean white fish with a mild flavor that is not overtly fishy. It’s considered a “Best Choice” for sustainable seafood options by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

Sometimes labeled as dolphinfish, this fish is usually sold as skinless fillets. If you don’t live near the warm waters of of the Gulf of Mexico or Hawaii (where mahi-mahi is caught), check the frozen seafood section of your grocery store for IQF (individually quick frozen) fillets.

How To Make Mahi-Mahi for Tacos

If you’re starting with frozen mahi-mahi fillets, place the fish in a resealable plastic bag (if they are not already wrapped) and quickly thaw them in a bowl of cold water. Depending on the size and thickness of the fish, they should be completely thawed in 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut the mahi-mahi into bite-sized pieces, about 2 inches. (Since mahi-mahi is firm, you can cut the fillets into bite-sized pieces without the risk of them falling apart.) Cutting them first provides more surface area for seasoning and allows for easy taco assembly. Season the fish with chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, lime zest, and salt, then sear on two sides until browned and cooked through.

What Is the Best Sauce for Mahi-Mahi Tacos?

The best type of sauce for mahi-mahi fish tacos is a creamy avocado sauce made with avocado, freshly squeezed lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and sour cream. And nothing beats a condiment that does double duty — taking the place of an avocado garnish and acting as a dressing for the slaw.

Mahi-Mahi Tacos Recipe

Mild mahi-mahi stuffed into warm tortillas with a creamy avocado and red cabbage slaw.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    skinless mahi-mahi (about 4 fillets), thawed if frozen

  • 1

    ripe medium avocado

  • 1

    small jalapeño

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    sour cream or full-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2

    small head red cabbage, or 4 cups pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix

  • 8

    (6- to 8-inch) corn or flour tortillas

  • Optional toppings: pico de gallo, fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lime (about 2 teaspoons) into a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the kosher salt, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and stir to combine.

  2. Cut 1 1/2 pounds mahi-mahi into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Add to the spice mixture and toss to coat. Set aside for about 15 minutes while you prepare the avocado sauce and slaw.

  3. Clean the cutting board. Juice the zested lime until you have 2 tablespoons, juicing the second lime as needed, and pour into the bowl of a regular or mini food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Cut any remaining lime into wedges for serving.

  4. Halve and pit 1 ripe medium avocado. Scoop the flesh from one half into the food processor. Place the remaining avocado half cut-side down until ready to serve.

  5. Trim and halve 1 small jalapeño crosswise. Scrape the seeds from one half, if desired, for a mild sauce, then add to the food processor. Cut the remaining half into thin rounds for serving.

  6. Add 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup sour cream, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the food processor. Process until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl.

  7. Core and very thinly slice 1/2 small head red cabbage until you have 4 cups. Add to the avocado dressing and toss with tongs until coated. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  8. Warm 8 (6- to 8--inch) corn or flour tortillas one at a time by holding them directly over a medium flame on a gas stove, or in a skillet over medium heat on an electric stove, flipping occasionally, until charred in spots and pliable. (Alternatively, wrap the stack of tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave until warm, 20 to 25 seconds.) Stack together and wrap in a clean kitchen towel or aluminum foil to keep warm.

  9. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the mahi-mahi in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook undisturbed until the fish is browned and releases easily from the pan, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook on the second side until browned and releases easily from the pan, and the fish is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat cooking the remaining mahi-mahi in the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

  10. Assemble the tacos: Peel and dice the remaining avocado half. Divide the mahi-mahi and slaw evenly among the warmed tortillas. Garnish with the avocado, jalapeños, and other optional toppings, if desired. Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated separately in airtight containers for up to 2 days.