Barbecued Mahi-Mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto

Barbecued Mahi-Mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto
from Bobby Flay

“Barbecue” Rub
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon chile de arbol powder (I use New Mexican chile powder)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto
2 large yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 Mahi-mahi fillets, 8 ounces each
4 teaspoons olive oil
“Barbecue” Rub
Cilantro leaves


Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Place peppers, garlic, pine nuts, cilantro and cheese in a food processor and process until combined. With the motor running, add the oil and process until emulsified and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat grill (or indoor grill pan) to high. Brush each fillet on both sides with oil. Rub 1 side of each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the barbecue rub and place on the grill rub side down and cook until slightly charred and a crust has formed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer or until cooked to medium doneness. Top each fillet with a few tablespoons of the pesto and garnish with cilantro leaves.


This may seem out of place in winter, but since I have no grill, and instead use an indoor pan or my oven or my broiler, any time of the year is a good time for me to make this.  Heck, you could even just sear this in a regular skillet.  I’ve done that as well.  No biggie.

The highlight of this dish, um, in case it wasn’t apparent, is the yellow pepper pesto.  Phenomenal. So much so that I highly suggest scaling the recipe as follows: 1/2 the rub, 1/2 the fish, keep the pesto amount the same. Trust me, you’ll be eating it off a spoon. It goes great on top of a side of white rice or just heaped on top of each bite of the fish.

I said some time back, when I first posted this, that I had to find other uses for the sauce.  Now, it seems obvious that it would be pretty spectacular on chicken as well, even using the same dry rub for the poultry.  Hm.  Must try that.


7 thoughts on “Barbecued Mahi-Mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto

  1. 1. Most anything from Bobby Flay is fantastic, IMHO. We ate at His restaurant, Mesa Grill, in Vegas several years ago, and it was phenomenal. To this day I describe it like “having a little circus in your mouth.”

    2. As you know, I am a huge fan of all things grilled. I live in the arctic and still use mine – my neighbors will see me outside, sub zeros temps, parka on, fingers turning purple…

    3. Fish=love

    4. That picture is making my mouth water.


  2. I made this a while back and was just telling my friend about it yesterday…funny that I just saw your post on it. I totally agree, the sauce is so addicting. I loved the bbq on the mahi, it's a different way to cook fish and I love it!


  3. Thanks April!

    Julia, you're a genius as always. Use it as a dip. Ha. I think I will!

    katie – Me too. I don't always like waiting to feel like I can taste spring and summer. Not having an outdoor grill kind of makes that convenient for me.

    Amy – 1) Very true, though what I saw you write on Facebook about his personality is also undoubtedly true; 2) You crazy woman; 3) YES; and 4) Thank you.

    Aggie – That is funny! Cool that you enjoyed it enough to talk about it too. I also love the rub and it definitely goes well with a fish like mahi mahi.


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