RECIPE: YUZU MAHI CEVICHE BY BRYAN TIMM

The unreal Mahi fishing continues… Find the right paddy and catch your limits. With water in the mid 70’s, an abundance of finbait on the local banks, and an incredible volume of these fish within the So Cal Bight, it seems appropriate to focus on Mahi preparation for consecutive weeks. This recipe was submitted by local fisherman and photographer Bryan Timm. His work on the water and in the kitchen is incredible. This ceviche is the perfect recipe for any angler looking to make quick use of their catch. The notes of oriental citrus provided by Yuzu along with the otherwise traditional ceviche ingredients and fresh Mahi make this a staple for your recipe book.

Prepared. Tested. Approved.

-Bryan Timm // Insta: @_bryantimm

The Catch: Mahi Mahi (Dorado)

Mahi mahi (also known as dorado or dolphinfish) are incredibly fast-growing and beautiful oceanic fish that generally inhabit tropical, warm waters. While they do visit the SoCal Bight, their appearance is never guaranteed on an annual basis. The fish is famous for their acrobatic fights and incredible coloration which can include blue, green, silver, and purple. Their prevalence as a game fish is paralleled by their versatility in the kitchen. The culinary attributes of this species are often overlooked resulting in simple table fare. Mahi mahi visit Southern California waters in the warmest months, generally arriving in late August and hanging around until the start of November. These open-water fish are stunning to see when they are lit up, often appearing electric green or blue in the water. They prefer water in the 70+ degree range and eat voraciously when they are in feeding mode.

2022 has proven to be a fantastic year for mahi fishing. The unprecedented volume of fish this year has not been seen in a significant amount of time. The biomass spans from Mexican waters all the way up through Newport Beach to the north. U.S. limits (10 fish/ person) have been caught regularly this year aboard both private boats and the sportboat fleet. San Diego mahi generally range in size from 5-25lbs; a mahi mahi over 25 lbs in SoCal waters is a trophy fish. Mahi is eaten globally and has a taste that appeals to most pallets. It has a relatively mild taste profile, although it definitely has a distinct flavor that works well with citrus.

  • Location: San Diego
  • Method: Flylining live sardines
  • Process: Drifting offshore kelp paddies
  • Serving Size: 4 – 6
  • Prep Time: 10mins
  • Cook Time: 1-2 hrs

The Rig

  • Rod: Seeker Inshore Pro 8′ 20-30lb
  • Reel: Shimano Torium 20
  • Line: Seaguar Tact X to Seaguar Flourocarbon
  • Connection Knot: RP Knot
  • Terminal Knot: San Diego Jam Knot
  • Hook and Bait: 1/0 Flyline and live sardine

Ingredients

1lb- 4 servings
  • Fresh Mahi Fillets
  • Limes (Recommend getting bag of dozen limes)
  • Cilantro
  • Red Onion
  • Jalapeño
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Yuzu
  • Flour Tortillas (Fry your own) or pre-made Tostadas

Preparation

  1. Pat down fillets with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  2. Begin cutting the mahi into somewhat small chunks, they don't have to be extremely small squares but you don't want them to be too big because you want the lime juice to permeate all of the meat. I recommend 1/4-1/2 inch chunks.
  3. Add a large pinch of sea salt and mix it thoroughly.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge as you prepare the limes (roughly 10 minutes or so.
  5. Add enough fresh squeezed lime juice to properly cover all the fish and save a few limes for later. (Typically 1/3 cup lime juice per lb of fish)
  6. Now here's where its up to the chef on what he/she prefers. I like to let my fish cook in the lime juice for a solid 1.5 hrs to almost 2-3 hours - I don't ever notice the fish getting rubbery and it still tastes the similar as if you left it in the lime juice for say 30 minutes like a standard ceviche - but you're gonna get more lime juice flavor keeping it in longer and I prefer that to contrast with spice.
  7. As that is sitting in the fridge I prep the veggies. Chop up the cilantro as fine as you can get it. I like to use a mandolin to slice the red onion super thin, then proceed to chop that up into smaller slices (not diced). Chop the jalapeño into tiny chunks.
  8. Pull the fish out, dump the leftover lime juice, mix all the veggies up into the bowl and add some pepper and a few fresh squeezes of lime juice and mix well again.
  9. Another chef-subjective decision....add Yuzu to give the ceviche some flare.
  10. You can eat with regular tortilla chips, but I recommend frying your own flour tortillas in canola oil to use as tostada shells.
  11. Ceviche is best when kept simple. Keep it simple and enjoy!
Nate has been fishing SoCal waters since a very young age, catching his first yellowtail at 6 with his father. He stayed in San Diego for his college education, attending UCSD and then SDSU for his Masters in Business. He has assisted multiple startups achieve success over the years and has a backgr...