Search for dolphinfish - 9 results found

dolphinfish; minutina; tomato and cucumber salsa


Becca Schlaff Dorade oil on canvas 36″ x 60″


I forgot to put the SD card back in the camera after uploading the last batch of my pictures to the computer, so unfortunately there are no photo images of his meal.  Instead I’ve located the painting above as a stand-in for the main focus of the meal, and I managed to save some phone images of some of the vegetables while they were still at the Greenmarket.

Dolphinfish, perhaps the males especially, with their prominent square foreheads, are among the most spectacular-looking finned creatures in the sea.  In addition, they are apparently among the most plentiful, at least among fish of their size.  They are also absolutely delicious, which brings them to this blog.

Maybe it’s the New England in me, but I don’t like using the name, ‘mahi-mahi’ on this side of the continent, so I will continue to refer to this creature as a ‘dolphinfish’, or ‘dolphin’ (or, in cookery, as ‘dorade’, or ‘dorado’, the name by which online sources say Europeans have come to know it, at least in their kitchens and on their dining tables).

After writing all of that, I will confess that I remain confused about the freedom with which the name ‘dorade’ seems to be thrown about on the other side of the Atlantic, at least according to the Wikipedia entry for ‘mahi-mahi’.  In Europe, Dorade actually seems to be a form of bream, and not the ‘common dogfish‘.

All of which reflects the fact that, like most fish species, dolphinfish are both blessed with, and easily confused through, the use of many names.  Today most people in the western hemisphere know it as mahi-mahi, a rather cute-sounding Hawaiian name (meaning ‘strong-strong’, possibly an allusion to the fish’s sturdy appearance as much as its fighting spirit when hooked). That tag was apparently broadcast beyond the central Pacific by merchandisers who wished to avoid the common confusion of the sport and commercial fish with a beloved mammal [yeah, you’d thnk..].   They share the name because, it is said, both creatures have a habit of swimming alongside boats.

Finally, when it comes to the word, ‘dolphin’, my imagination is never very far from the graceful creatures that appear so frequently in classical design and architecture. I mentioned this in my first Food Blog post about preparing dolphinfish.  But of course I would love them for that alone.

  • exactly one pound of dorade fillet from Pura Vida Fisheries, dry-marinated with more than half a tablespoon of lemon zest, an equal amount of thyme leaves from Keith’s Farm, salt, and pepper, set aside for 20 minutes or so, then seared in a hot pan for about 3 minutes, carefully turned over and that side seared for 3-4 minutes, the heat lowered and the pan loosely covered for a few minutes (depending on thickness), with aluminum foil if no other cover is available, during which time some bruised fresh ramp fruit from Berried Treasures and thinly-sliced shallots from Keith’s Farm were introduced and briefly sautéed with the fish before it was removed and put onto two plates, and the pan juices poured over


  • minutina from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, drained, then wilted very slightly in low-to-medium-hot olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper


  • a salsa of halved tiny golden cherry tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm and a smaller amount of delicious little [about an inch-and-a-half-round] lemon cucumbers from Berried Treasures, sliced, together dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper, a bit of white balsamic vinegar, and chopped copper fennel from Berried Treasures
  • The wine was an Argentinian white, Jelu Estate Torrontes 2014, from San Juan
  • the music was Lully’s ‘Amadis’, Clavecin et direction par Christophe Rousset


[image at the top is from the website of Becca Schlaff]

dolphinfish with crispy potatoes, tomatoes, olives


Okay, this may not be easy to explain.  I’ve never actually cooked dolphin before, and in fact I didn’t cook ‘dolphin’ tonight.  What I prepared was  dolphinfish, which is not a mammal by any stretch of the imagination: Think of all those curvaceous creatures which were used to decorate classical furniture, architectural features, and garden ornaments (I’m not absolutely certain, but I believe they were inspired, not by the mammal, but by the fish seen as the beautiful, tanned, blue-haired youth’s catch seen in this Minoan fresco from 3600 years ago.


When I visited PE & DD Seafood in the Greenmarket today I saw a relatively uncommon name marked on the board at the back of the stall, and wanting to take something home I hadn’t prepared before, more or less on an impulse I asked for some of what I saw labelled as “mahi-mahi’.  I think I had always ignored the fish in the past because of the, well, …, *exotic* name always attached to it, and Hawaii sort of doesn’t fit anywhere into my personal aesthetic.  My thoughts went something like this:  Anything which went around calling itself  ‘mahi-mahi’ was certainly not something to be taken seriously, at least not as a respectable local fish or something which might be appropriate for a more-or-less Italian table.

Wade and Jan, the fisherman/owner Phil Karlin’s son and his sister-in-law, set me straight, explaining that mahi-mahi was in fact an Atlantic fish caught off eastern Long Island, and that it was also known as dorado, or dolphinfish (a name easily confused with young Sandy’s charming and intelligent friend, ‘Flipper’ – which probably explains the alias). Now the fillets began to look like something I could work with, so I asked for a piece weighing just under a pound.  I figured I’d easily be able to come up with suggestions for its preparations once I got home, but in fact, even after searching through my food library, I still had no idea how I would cook it.   Eventually, largely with Barry’s input, I decided dolphin would lend itself to the kind of treatment I usually reserve for mackerel or bluefish.  My recipe was an adaptation of one from Marcella Hazan; I obtained it elsewhere, but this is a version which appears on line now.

  • very-thinly-sliced German Butterball potatoes from Berried Treasures tossed with olive oil, sliced garlic from Garden of Spices Farm, salt and pepper, roasted in a pan for fifteen minutes in a very hot oven, then covered with a seasoned dolphin fillet from PE & DD Seafood covered with a mixture of sliced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped parsley from Paffenroth Gardens, with two sliced heirloom tomatoes from Berried Treasures and a dozen halved Kalamata olives from Whole Foods scattered over the potatoes, the whole roasted for another fifteen minutes, everything then garnished with more chopped parsley
  • the wine was a California white, Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This is the dish resting on top of the oven, moments after it came out (I love one-pot meals, even when they don’t look like that’s what they really are).



[the second image is from HistoryWiz]

dolphin, leek, chili, micro scallion; tomato, mint; puntarelle

Paul wanted me to go home with the sea robin, which was actually less than half the price of the dolphin he was selling.

Speaking as my fishmonger, he said that by cooking and then writing about it on this food blog I might be able to expand the market for a very under-appreciated fish, reminding me that it was extremely sustainable (almost certainly related to its unpopularity), and pointing out that while we stood there in the Greenmarket that afternoon, all over the world there were enormous demonstrations about climate change, protests which were not unrelated to the disappearance of species.

I totally respect a fish monger who thinks in terms that not only do not favor his own business but manage to shame his customers, and I’ve prepared more than my share of sea robin (a great tasting fish, by the way), but on Friday I went with the dolphin, promising Paul it would be different next time.

Just then, a guy came up to the stand asked him about a fish he didn’t have that day, and the 3-way, eventually 4-way, conversation moved on to our experiences catching sea robin with hook and line (always inadvertently), and lots of laughter, especially over the surprise of their creepy ‘legs’ and ‘wings’.

I love the Greenmarket.

  • a one pound skinned fillet of local dolphin, or ‘dolphinfish’, from Pura Vida Seafood, a species elsewhere known as orata, or dorade, but in the US commonly referred to by a Hawaiian name, ‘Mahi-Mahi’, (which I try to resist), because Americans, seduced by popular media, would otherwise think of Flipper, halved at home, dry-marinated for 30 minutes or so with more than half a tablespoon of zest from an organic California lemon from Whole Foods Market, half a tablespoon of what I think is chopped za’atar from Jayne of TransGenerational Farm (I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t now for certain that it was that herb; it may have been an oregano or marjoram, since they all look similar and I had bought all 3 herbs within days of each other; only one of them remains), sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, seared in a little olive oil inside a heavy copper skillet for about 2 minutes, the former skin side up, then turned over, the second side seared for another 2 minutes, the heat lowered and the pan loosely covered with a tin-lined copper universal lid for a minute or two, after which some short slices of baby French leek from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and a bit of chopped fresh habanada pepper from Campo Rosso Farm were introduced and very briefly sautéed with the fish before the leek, the habanada, and the fish were arranged on the plates, and the now rich, savory pan juices poured on top, some micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge scattered over all
  • two heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced horizontally, the cut sides seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with torn leaves of spearmint, the gift of a friend
  • some of the puntarelle prepared for a meal 2 days earlier but then set aside because including it would have made the portions too large, tossed now with a freshly assembled anchovy sauce
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson ROX Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018, from Naked Wines
  • the music was an album of various ‘Concerti Grossi’ by Francesco Geminiani’s, ‘Quinta Essentia’, performed by Concerto Köln

zesty dolphin with habanada; minutina; currant tomatoes

It’s a super fish, its flavor and texture poised between the most interesting of the rich oily seafood and the most delicate of white-fleshed varieties. I love it.

  • four fillets (a total of one pound) of skinned local dolphinfish from Pura Vida Seafood (aka orata, or dorade, or, in the US, commonly attached to the Hawaiian name, ‘Mahi-Mahi’, which I really try to resist), dry-marinated for 30 minutes or so with more than half a tablespoon of zest from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, half a tablespoon of chopped summer savory from Lani’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, seared in a little olive oil inside a heavy oval vintage copper fish pan for about 2 minutes, skin side up, then turned over, the second side seared for another 2 minutes, the heat lowered and the pan loosely covered with aluminum foil for a minute or two, which was then removed, and some thin-ish slices of Japanese scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm and a bit of chopped fresh habanada pepper were introduced and very briefly sautéed along with the fish, which was then removed from the pan, along with the allium and the habanada, and arranged on the plates, the now richly-savory pan juices poured over the top of the fish, and some bronze micro fennel scattered on its side

  • a large Strauss of minutina from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, drained, then barely wilted (it was cooked perfectly this time, and that’s actually very hard to do with this delicate thin green), in a bit of olive oil inside a large antique high-sided copper pot above a low-to-medium flame, seasoned with salt and pepper, finished on the plates with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon

thyme-marinated, grilled dolphin; potatoes, chervil; lacinato

First, it wasn’t the mammal. It had gills and fins, at least originally.

Second, this time I decided I’d prepare this wonderful fish, which is oddly tagged, the ‘common dolphinfish‘, as simply as possible.

It began with a simple marinade..

..and wound up as a simple grill, the dolphin arriving on the plate dressed in nothing more than a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a colorful garnish.

  • one 17-ounce dolphinfish fillet from American Seafood Company’s stand at Chelsea’s Saturday Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, rubbed with a mix of Whole Food Market’s good house Seville olive oil, a few drops of Aceto Cesare Bianco white wine vinegar from Buon Italia, a bit of sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a respectable number of fresh thyme leaves from Stokes Farm, allowed to rest on an old oval ironstone platter for half an hour (the first 15 minutes inside the refrigerator, the second on the counter), then placed, skin side down, on the ribs of an enameled cast iron grill pan over a medium to high flame for almost 2 1/2 minutes, turned, the flesh side grilled for almost 4 1/2 minutes longer, arrange on 2 plates, drizzled with a little Whole Foods Market organic lemon juice, scattered with micro red amaranth, a bit of olive oil poured over the top

Even the vegetables fended pretty much for themselves in this meal.


  • a little more than a handful of small Norland Red potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled with a generous amount of salt until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while still inside the medium-size, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and some de-stemmed chervil from Campo Rosso Farm