Mahi with queso and grits

Try this delicious mahi recipe

The mild flavor of dolphin (mahi mahi) is excellent prepared in many ways. Perhaps the only way it wouldn’t be delicious would be if overcooked and burned. The idea with this recipe is to have a light, fun meal that is visually appealing too. Dolphin are excellent baked, grilled, blackened, in ceviche and even fried. This recipe combines the light flavor of grilling dolphin fillets after marinating in zesty Italian dressing, then serving them on a bed of grits, with vegetables and a little queso cheese for a topper. Those tastes go together well. And my family hopes you enjoy it as much as they do. 

Plenty of mahi are available for anglers this month, so catch your share and try them out on this recipe.


  • 4 Dolphin fillets, 
  • 1 Cup corn grits (uncooked),
  • 1 Can of diced tomatoes,
  • 1 Small can of green chilies,
  • 1 Fresh jalapeno,
  • 1 Jar of queso,
  • 2/3 Cup Zesty Italian dressing,
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Trim the dolphin fillets to remove the skin, plus any dark meat or bloodlines.

2. Place the fillets in a zip-lock bag and cover with Zesty Italian dressing. Squeeze out the air and let them marinate 30 minutes to 2 hours in refrigerator.

3. Clean and dice the jalapeno(s).

4. Drain the tomatoes and green chilies and combine them in a bowl.

5. Cook the grits according to the directions on the package. 

6. Preheat the grill to medium to medium high.

7. Grill the dolphin fillets on a fish or vegetable tray for about 4-6 minutes per side. (Look for a few sear marks, but be careful not to overcook them.)

8. Cover a plate or the bottom of a shallow bowl with grits.

9. Place a fillet of fish on the grits. (The fillet will be tender and may break into pieces.)

10. Sprinkle the tomatoes, chilies and jalapeno pieces on and around the fish.

11. Drizzle the queso across the fish, vegetables and grits.

12. Serve while warm.

Spice it up to suit your taste

I don’t think anyone would question that fish and grits should taste good combined. But how about also piling on some diced tomatoes, diced chilies, diced jalapeno peppers and drizzling it all with queso? I like it and I hope you will also.

I listed the ingredients as I first made it. But I’ve tried it several times with the different flavors and degrees of heat available with the Rotel line of diced tomatoes, chilies and peppers. This mixture uses diced tomatoes, a few chilies, fresh jalapenos (all to taste) and should be mild enough for anyone. However, using one of the spicier Rotel blends and/or adding more jalapenos steps it up a notch or three. Adjust according to your personal preferences. I like fresh jalapenos and sometimes, if I have a lot of them, I dice a few pretty fine and cook them mixed in the grits. 

The grits need some salt. I use smoked sea salt, but feel free to use whatever salt you have on hand. Follow the directions on the grits package and add some butter also. I inherited a love of pepper from my granddad and probably use more of it than most folks.

Speaking of the grits, I like yellow grits and use them. If you prefer white grits, they will be fine also. I put just a little oil in the bottom of the pan before cooking grits and rice to help prevent sticking together and to the pan. For this recipe, I changed that to use a little bacon grease as it and the pepper also help dirty up the grits a bit.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1169 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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