Dinner Tonight: Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Pesto Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Pesto Recipe

The difficulty of making any Bobby Flay recipe, like this one, during the winter is how to translate his love of cooking on a blazing-hot grill into the confines of my kitchen. I absolutely love his use of chiles and acid, but even when it is warm, all I have is a little hibachi grill the size of a hubcap. Luckily, the broiler is a fine replacement, and even though it's still cold here in Chicago, I can indulge in a recipe that feels like a straight shot of summer.

Mahi mahi is already a delicious fish, but its intensity gets cranked here with the use of a rub and a pesto. The fairly standard barbecue rub is great, but it's the pesto that I really loved. Cilantro stands in for the standard basil, and the addition of the bell pepper makes it a touch sweet. I swapped the recommended yellow bell pepper for a red one because it's what I had on hand. I think the only real difference is that mine turned a tad pink. Oh well.

It might seem like a lot of ingredients, but five of them are spices, and most are pantry staples like garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Anyway, this nice reminder of the warmer weather is always welcome, especially when it is as balanced and flavorful as this one.


  • For the rub:
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the cilantro pesto:
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • For the fish:
  • 2 mahi mahi fillets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. 1.

    Combine all the ingredients for the rub and set aside.

  2. 2.

    Roast the red pepper underneath the broiler for a few minutes on each side until blackened all over. Wrap up in a plastic bag and let steam for 15 minutes. Then remove the skin, stem, and seeds. Chop haphazardly into 1-inch pieces and then toss in a food processor along with the garlic, pine nuts, and cilantro. Process until smooth. Then, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. When all of it is incorporated, turn the processor off and stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper

  3. 3.

    Preheat the broiler. Rub each fillet 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the rub onto each fillet. Place fish underneath the broiler and cook for about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the cilantro pesto.