Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Pico de Gallo

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix–Honey and Friday Foodie Fix–Balsamic Vinegar. (See other roundup links within the post.)

As I’ve shared here at gfe many times, I’m a huge fan of fish and seafood. Fish and seafood can easily be prepared gluten free by grilling or baking with some simple herbs and seasonings, or using basic sauces. (That’s why you’ll see them as one of the options that offer a multitude of possibilities in the PDF listing of 50+ meals that are gfe  on the gfe sidebar.) Since Mr. GFE is an avid scuba diver, our non-motorcycle vacations often involve trips to warm places with equally warm waters teeming with spectacular life. Fortunately, that also usually means an abundance of fresh fish and seafood for dining. On our 20th wedding anniversary several years ago, we visited Maui and stayed at the Napili Kai resort. Napili is a truly lovely and quiet area of the island and the Napili Kai resort follows suit. I’ve read that none of the buildings in Napili are allowed to be taller than the palm trees and while I haven’t verified that information, it certainly seemed to be true when we were there. The Napili Kai resort is low-rise and old fashioned, but it remains a welcoming retreat. It’s on a hillside with two gorgeous crescent-shaped beaches on either side. I snorkeled and swam each morning while Mr. GFE was off scuba diving. It’s such a popular and appealing spot, that I witnessed not one, but five weddings on the beach that week. I have the photos to prove it, but I digress … back to my love of fish …

We discovered that in addition to the fine restaurant at the resort, there was another well-respected restaurant a short walk up the hill in the clubhouse of the neighboring golf course. The clubhouse became one of our favorite places to dine. During the day, the dining room seemed fairly average, but at night it was transformed into a romantically lit, elegant eatery. Once seated, the first thing the server did was hand you a menu with the day’s specials. I remember that every evening we visited, there were at least six (often as many as eight) different fish, listed in order of firmness. (I’d never seen fish listed by firmness before and haven’t seen it since.) You could have each type of fish prepared several different ways. I was in fresh fish heaven. Most of them were simply grilled with herbs and seasonings, but I was never disappointed as the freshness and unique flavor of each fish shined through. More than once that week, I enjoyed mahi mahi, also known as dolphin fish (no, it’s a fish, not the mammal we’ve come to know and love as Flipper). Mahi mahi is sometimes considered boring or mundane by chefs and restaurant critics, but I like its mild, slightly sweet taste.

Fish can be expensive even when you are purchasing it and cooking it yourself (although we’re satisfied with small portions so the value is higher in my opinion). I usually grab several packages of several varieties whenever there’s a good sale. I cook some right away, but freeze the rest, to pull out for a quick dinner later. Mahi mahi, salmon, tuna, swordfish, and tilapia are ones I like to pick up when I can.

I found a mahi mahi recipe on a few months back. It called for honey (you know how I love using our bees’ honey) and balsamic vinegar. Even with mahi mahi’s inherent sweetness, I still found the sweeter tone of the recipe itself very appealing. And, when we tried it (with a few minor modifications), we really enjoyed it. When I picked up some mahi mahi recently, I planned to repeat my variation. However, in a moment of inspiration, I made a simple pico de gallo, tossing some yellow pepper, red pepper, Vidalia onion, and some cilantro leaves into my mini-chopper. (Purists can use their fine chef’s knives to do the work.) I stirred it all together and spooned it over the mahi mahi once it was ready. The pico de gallo was fresh, attractive, and most importantly delicious as a topping for the ginger-glazed mahi. In fact, the next day, Mr. GFE ended up with a leftover piece of mahi mahi with no pico de gallo left for topping and lamented that the mahi was not nearly as good without it. So, this pico de gallo is a delicious, but easy-to-make addition.

Diane of The Whole Gang  selected red or green pepper as her Friday Foodie Fix ingredient. I’m submitting this recipe via Mr. Linky at her site and also my That Chili with the Mushrooms! vegetarian chili (peppers are another key ingredient of that recipe as well). Check out this week’s Friday Foodie Fix roundup here and check out photos and the recipe for Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Pico de Gallo below—another gfe recipe for you. :-)




Mahi with Pico de Gallo 005

Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Pico de Gallo
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)

Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi

3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (ensure that it’s gluten free; I limit soy, but if you don’t use it at all, just substitute some molasses and perhaps a little more balsamic vinegar for a similar flavor)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) mahi mahi fillets (or similar amount, less is fine—you’ll just have extra sauce)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a shallow glass dish or Ziploc bag, stir together the honey (or maple syrup), soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic, and olive oil. Season fish fillets with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and place them in dish or bag. (Place skin side down, if applicable.) Cover dish or close bag, and marinate 20 minutes in refrigerator.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, preferably turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.

Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to glaze consistency (which will take a minute or two). Spoon glaze over fish. Make pico de gallo (as shown below) and top the fish. Serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo

Yellow pepper, finely chopped
Red pepper, finely chopped
Vidalia onion, finely chopped
Cilantro, finely chopped

Stir all together and serve over fish, chicken, etc. Ingredients can be varied based on what you have on hand and your individual preferences. Similarly, just use amounts per what you have and what ratio/mixture looks most appealing to you.

(Note: Ginger-Glazed portion of recipe Adapted from; Pico de Gallo portion is my own.)

Not just gf, but gfe!

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35 Responses to “Ginger-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Pico de Gallo”

  1. Katrina (gluten free gidget) on September 12th, 2009 8:36 am


    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 9:28 am

      Hi, Katrina–LOL Sometimes one word is all that’s needed … one word and maybe some of those little “happy” noises when one is actually eating this dish. ;-)

      Thanks so much,

  2. Lauren on September 12th, 2009 10:16 am

    Mmm – This looks delicious! I love fish, and its always better with maple syrup or honey on top =D. For soy sauce, we use tamari, which tends to be GF, and is just an aged soy sauce.

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 8:45 pm

      Hi, Lauren–Thanks for mentioning the gluten-free tamari for the benefit of others. I really like the gf San J tamari, too, and pick some up when I’m at a store that carries it. But, my basic grocery store does not carry it … hence, the La Choy (which is not as tasty, but it is less expensive).

      I don’t usually top my fish with anything sweet, but this recipe is quite good. I like the ginger-glazed part, but the pico de gallo made the dish pop with flavor. :-)


  3. Ali on September 12th, 2009 12:44 pm

    Diddo on the YUM!!!! :)

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 8:47 pm

      LOL, Ali … yep, it’s a “YUM!!!”-worthy dish. ;-)


  4. WendyGK on September 12th, 2009 2:04 pm

    Next time you invite all the GF bloggers for a cookout–Please make this. I’ll be there.:)

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 8:47 pm

      Hi Wendy!–It’s a deal! Shall we start planning that event now? I’m game. Seriously. :-)


  5. Diane- The WHOLE Gang on September 12th, 2009 3:18 pm

    This looks so good. I’m so glad you shared it on Friday Foodie Fix. Now I’m craving seafood but stuck at Panera Bread. When I get home I’m pulling out the fish! Yum!

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 8:52 pm

      Hey Diane–Hope you’ve escaped the throes of Panera Bread. Free Wi-Fi and all, but somehow a gf person being stuck in Panera Bread doesn’t seem quite right. LOL Although I do know they have a few gf items.

      I could seriously eat fish for days on end and be very, very content. :-) Oh, my pleasure to add to the Friday Foodie Fix. Let me head back over there and check out all the other recipes!


  6. Lisa on September 12th, 2009 4:01 pm

    This fish recipe looks wonderful! I’m going to try it soon! I have a question for you…I have been craving peach (or any fruit) cobbler like the ones we used to make with Bisquick. Very easy, put the fruit in the pan and basically pour the crust over the top and bake. I’ve been trying to convert the Bisquick recipe to GF, but I’m doing something very wrong…it comes out all gummy, just plain gross. If you’ve made anything like this, please pass on a recipe..or if you have any ideas! Thanks! :)

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 9:08 pm

      Hi, Lisa–I think you’re new to gfe per your info—welcome! Thanks so very much for your kind words.

      I have a couple of ideas for you re: a fruit cobbler. First, if you might be happy with a fruit dish with a lighter crust, try my apple pie recipe. Just substitute peaches for the apples and, of course, make any other changes to the spices as you wish. I haven’t made that recipe using peaches, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t turn out well. It’s a wonderful recipe. However, if you really want a thicker gf Bisquick-like crust, I’d suggest trying this gf Bisquick-like recipe from the late Betty Hagman that is highly rated on RecipeZaar. I haven’t tried it personally, but it seems like a good solution for the taste and consistency you are going for. Last, if you’ve tried the Betty Crocker gf mixes and liked them and had no issues, you might even try a recipe like this one that calls for yellow cake mix. Best of luck and let us know how it goes! :-) And, please let us know what you think of the mahi mahi recipe when you try that, too.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on gfe!

  7. GF PATISSERIE on September 12th, 2009 7:01 pm

    I love fish. The caveat is that I have to see the water they come from. River fish in YYC is OK, but ocean fish, well, I need the atmosphere to go with it. Sushi being the exception.

    Having said that, your recipe once more lives fully up to the name of your BLOG. So easy!

    I might just have to break the rule and buy some MAHI MAHI. Or sub with Salmon, what do you think?

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 9:13 pm

      H.Peter–Hi, there! Ah, a fellow fish lover—with restrictions. ;-) Atmosphere is definitely a nice bennie. Yes, I probably did enjoy that mahi mahi more when I was eating it and looking out on Napili beach. :-)

      I think this recipe would be great for salmon. I often see maple-glazed salmon on menus and have even enjoyed some before and it was a very nice combination of flavors. These ingredients would provide a similar taste. I’m so glad you mentioned this possibility, because Mr. GFE is not the salmon lover that I am. However, he just might go for it in this recipe. ;-)


  8. Pam on September 12th, 2009 7:12 pm

    I love mahi mahi….we just had it for supper two nights ago….your’s looks really good!

    • Shirley on September 12th, 2009 9:14 pm

      Hi, Pam– :-) Thanks! How do you enjoy your mahi mahi most often?


  9. glutenfreeforgood on September 13th, 2009 11:38 am

    Wow, that looks incredibly tasty. I’m so hungry right now. I have some teff porridge on the stove, but I’d love a plate of your mahi-mahi. No need to wait for dinner. Breakfast would be fine! Seriously, that would be a GREAT way to start the day. I hear my buzzer going off for my teff porridge. Bummer, I love teff, but after drooling over your mahi-mahi, I’m not that interested in it.

    I’ll definitely give this a try. Maybe on salmon.

    Thanks, Shirley. Good one!

    • Shirley on September 14th, 2009 10:55 am

      Hey, Melissa–I hope you still enjoyed the teff porridge. ;-) I just like saying the word porridge … you know, The Three Bears, and all that. (Almost hit baby bear on the way home from the mtns last weekend—no kidding.) I bet your porridge is just right. Seriously, I’d like to try it. But, I’m with you on eating really good fish for breakfast. You know how I love leftover salmon for breakfast The breakfast naysayers would feel a whole lot differently about the benefits of breakfast if they focused on protein vs carbs, don’t you think?

      Let me know how it turns out for salmon. Of course, if you take too long, I just might try some myself and feed it to Mr. GFE. I handed him a chicken salad sandwich I’d made yesterday and told him, “It’s a surprise. What do you think it is?” He looked at me warily and asked, “Salmon?” LOL, but true!

      Happy Monday, Melissa!

  10. Alisa - Frugal Foodie on September 13th, 2009 6:52 pm

    I love fish too, and this sounds delicious! I actually have some mahi mahi in the freezer too!

    • Shirley on September 14th, 2009 12:47 pm

      Hi, Alisa–Good to see you as usual! Thanks so much … maybe I’ve helped you with your upcoming menu planning. ;-)

      BTW, still thinking about your Thai tomato coconut chicken soup … wishing I hadn’t used all my cooked chicken in a casserole dish yesterday (what was I thinking?)—that soup would have been so welcome today for lunch.


  11. Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) on September 13th, 2009 11:13 pm

    Shirley – love that you made the time to make your own pico. Those are the special touches that really make a great meal. Your mahi looks incredible, too.

    • Shirley on September 14th, 2009 12:49 pm

      Hi, Amy–The thing is the pico was so easy! I’d never made my own before … always marveled at it in restaurants. And, you know … I think most great cooking is like that. For example, often we go to the islands and/or other countries and are blown away by their cuisine, and all they are doing is using fresh, simple ingredients with herbs and seasonings. :-)

      Thanks very much for your always positive comments!

  12. Lisa on September 14th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Hi, Shirley!

    Thanks for the pie recipes! I’m off to get some peaches to try your recipe! I’ve got a tub of Blue Bell ice cream (vanilla, because for some reason they put wheat flour in chocolate..ugh!) just waiting to be put on top of the warm pie!

    I’m not new to gfe, just has been a gave me your popover recipe and I’ve made it so much since then! I check your blog often and have used many of your recipes, I just don’t always comment. I was craving the pie and I knew you could help me out!

    Thanks so much! Lisa

    • Shirley on September 14th, 2009 12:56 pm

      Hi again, Lisa–I was thinking my blog search capability let me down, but I see you are using a different email and IP address this go round. I had to look … LOL I was also wondering if it was my addled brain … been under the effect of a bug the last few days. So, thanks for giving me clues where to look. I feel better now. ;-)

      I’m thrilled you are using so many of my recipes here at gfe! I hope the conversion of the apple pie to peach becomes another favorite for you. :-) Please let us know! Thanks also for the reminder on Blue Bell chocolate ice cream containing wheat. There are a few basic chocolate ice creams that contain gluten. It’s a good reminder to always read labels.

      Talk to you again soon,

      • Lisa on September 16th, 2009 9:50 am


        I made the pie, your recipe with apples! It was delicious! The whole family ate it, without a clue that it was GF! I’ll make it again soon with other fruits! Thanks so much for satisfying another one of my cravings!

        While I was spreading the batter on top of the fruit, I thought this would work great for a crustless chicken pot pie…do you have a batter receipe for something like that?

        Thanks, Lisa :)

        • Shirley on September 16th, 2009 8:53 pm

          Lisa–You win major gfe brownie points again for reporting back on how a recipe actually worked out!! Love that! I’m so happy that your whole family ate it with delight. :-) Please report back how it does with the other fruits as well. My only concern with some fruits might be the juiciness factor producing too much liquid, but I’m hopeful, it will work with many. Keep me posted! I want to hear about all experiences … not just the good ones. ;-)

          Now the crustless chicken pot pie … oh, yeah, I’ve been thinking about that one, but haven’t actually developed a recipe yet. Now that the weather is cooling off, I promise to move that to the top of my list. I think it will be a cross between the “batter” for my popover pizza and that of my apple pie. Stay tuned, dear.

          Thanks so much,

  13. Linda on September 14th, 2009 5:59 pm

    We’re not huge seafood fans, but it’s a nice change sometimes. I know fish is healthy, but I never thought about it satisfying you with less. That’s a good point. Your dish looks wonderful.

    • Shirley on September 14th, 2009 10:08 pm

      Hey, Linda–I really think even non-seafood lovers would enjoy this one. The smaller portion would be nice in that regard, too. Thanks so much for stopping by … and your kind words!


  14. PattyBoots on September 16th, 2009 6:49 pm

    I use Worcester sauce with a little pinch of sweetener a lot of times instead of soy sauce when I’m not making something like fried rice. It seems to swap out well with reduced-sodium soy especially.

    I try and try and try to like fish, but, I just can’t do it. Though we love shellfish and Martin’s has 31-40 count for $3.99/lb. this week so I shall go and stock up!

    • Shirley on September 16th, 2009 9:13 pm

      Hey Patty–Good to see you! Thanks for letting us know about your substitute–good to know. I’m sure others will find this tip very helpful, too. Lea & Perrins and French’s are both gluten free (always read labels in case ingredients change!), and I’ve used both. However, I’m still looking for a Worcestershire sauce that is gluten free, but doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. If you or anyone else reading knows of one, please share!

      No problem on the fish. LOL We all have our likes and dislikes. If we really like something, we can’t get how someone else doesn’t like it. If we really dislike something, we can’t get how they could possibly like it. I’m sure there are things on your “like” list that are on my “dislike” list. ;-) Oooh, stock-up time on shrimp is nice indeed! Have you tried gfe‘s oven-steamed shrimp yet?

      Thanks again for the tip and taking the time to comment—I truly appreciate it!


    • Shirley on September 16th, 2009 9:15 pm

      Patty–P.S. I haven’t forgotten about your request for the lemon basil ice cream! My friend gave me the recipe and another friend is sharing her basil. Hopefully, as soon as I get back from the BlogHer Food conference next weekend, I’ll share that. :-)


  15. Kathy on October 3rd, 2009 3:46 am

    My husband would love this recipe, he loves
    fish. We will give it a try soon. Thanks
    for sharing!

    • Shirley on October 3rd, 2009 11:15 pm

      Hey Kathy–It’s hard to tell by your info if you’re new to gfe, but if you are—welcome!! A fellow fish lover :-) … hope you both enjoy it. Even without the pico de gallo, I like it a lot.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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