While having no relationship to the mammalian “Flipper,” dolphin fish (also known as mahi-mahi) are just as worthy of a celebrity moniker. But, unlike the aquarium show staple, dolphin fish occupy a different aquatic realm—and cuisine. Mahi-mahi are as at home hunting in the open oceans as they are on a white dinner plate. And, like all good things in life, best things come in twos—in this case, two separate species.
Blue, Green, And Everything In Between
The most popular and recognizable of the two dolphin fish is mirrored by its Latin-voided name, the common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus). A giant among the ray-finned fish, the often top the standard scales at nearly forty-pounds and measure more than two meter stickers laid side-by-side—and with a color scheme to match. Adorned with a Marvel-mutant-like greens that tapper off into a gold, lustrous hue, it’s no wonder that the Spanish refer to them as “dorado,” which literally translates into meaning “gold.”
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall
“Who’s the prettiest of them all?” Well, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Often mistaken as juvenile common dolphinfish, Pomapanos (Coryphaena equiselis) are the smaller second species of the Coryphaenidae family; male Pompano fish are also armored with the same large foreheads at their other ilk. And to tie-in the Cinderella allusion into a neat bow, this second dolphin fish species is armored with a vast amount of incredibly reflective scales that mirror its surrounding hydrophilic environment. These runt-sized, less-colorful dolphinfish are fished commercially in their South American waters, totted as a suitable substitute for swordfish in seafood dishes.
Equally At Home At The End Of A Hook Or On A Dinner Plate
Dolphin fish are a double threat—they’re a trophy fish and a dish best served lightly seared. Like other large, open-water predatory fish, dolphin fish can be found in the upper-water column where they spend their day’s hunting pelagic prey fish. But, unlike the swordfish and sailfish they’re often cast-aside for, dolphin fish rarely dive to depths of more than two-hundred feet. Anglers, may you take a moment to rejoice in the fact that you won’t have to put small dumbbells at the ends of your lines to weight. And, once you’ve landed your squid-baited catch, it’s time to mull over the following question: “Well, does it taste any good.” The answer, concerning foodie, is yes, yes it does.
Dolphin fish, once considered worthless bycatch of swordfish and sailfish netting, have garnered quite the following in recent years. They offer-up a savory trifecta: affordability, ease of preparation, and dynamic flavor profile. Best served lightly seared and adequately seasoned, dolphinfish are every middle-class, fish-eating consure’s day dream.
And to end on limelight-lit note: Dolphinfish may not be cast in a starring role in a B-rated movie, but they’re likely to be praised on any celebrity cooking show.