Notes from the Island Fishmonger

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Most of us know this fish as a Mahi-Mahi but it has several nicknames with Dolphin and Dorado being the most common. The word Mahi-Mahi is actually Hawaiian and means strong-strong referring to it being one of the fastest swimming fish in the sea. I often thought that “El Dorado” would be an excellent nickname for myself but it never really caught on. Probably because I don’t swim.

Well, in the month of February strong-strong also means cheap-cheap. Actually, I should say inexpensive. Mahi-Mahi has had a strong production year in the Florida Keys on both the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic Ocean side. Here is a chance for us consumers to benefit from supply and demand as the Mahi supply is great and the retail cost is lower than I have ever seen. At Big Water Fish Market, the price has dropped to an all-time low.

Mahi-Mahi has extra lean, dark meat and is firm textured with a solid flake and moist with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Mahi feeds off-shore on small fish, shrimp, squid, and crabs. Now that’s a healthy delicious diet that I am jealous of. This fish is one of Florida’s favorites and is often served blackened or grilled and topped with a tropical salsa which varies in recipes. A great substitute for Mahi is Amberjack which is also a local fish that stays inexpensive almost all year round.

I do have a bucket list and was proud to report that last summer, catching a Mahi off the coast of Marathon in the Keys, I was able to scratch that off of my list. The fish was strong and it was a brilliant blue, green and silver color with yellow spotting. Unfortunately the color quickly fades when the fish is landed.

Not only is this the fastest swimming fish in the sea but it is also one of the fastest growing as well. Because of the rapid growth of Mahi-Mahi, research at the University of Miami’s Experimental Hatchery is underway to discover and create sustainable farm raised Mahi, predicting this fish to be more abundant than farm raised Salmon within 10 years.

Pictured below is the “Mahi Melt” available at Big Water Fish Market. That, along with the Grouper Grill, are by far two of the most popular sandwiches on the island.

Carlyle Veale serving up a Mahi melt at BWFM 

Live well, eat fish, be strong-strong!

Scott Dolan
Big Water Fish Market, Siesta Key

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