Harvesting Nature

Justin Townsend




Recipe Name: Grilled Mahi and Mango Pico de Gallo Nachos

Serving Size: 3-4 people

Time to make: 45 minutes

Special Equipment: Grill, 2 baking trays

Also works with: Any firm flaky fish

Mahi-mahi is such a delicious fish. The flavor ranks in the top 5 favorite fish for me. I have caught and eaten mahi from both coasts and from the Caribbean seas as well. The flavor never disappoints. I find the meat to be lean with a firm texture and an almost sweet taste. Grilling is the perfect method to prepare mahi because the firmness does not allow the meat to easily fall between the grates. A dash of lime juice while cooking brings out flavors that are more complex and enhance the meat. 

The mahi used for this recipe was caught during a combination trolling and spearfishing trip in the Florida Keys. A group of guys and myself traveled out to the weed line and trolled for a short time until we hit a school of mahi. Once, we had one fish on the trolling line, we began chumming with frozen baitfish to entice the rest of the school to emerge to the action. Soon after the chumming began, you could see dashes of blue, yellow, and green in the water. A signal was given and a ready diver splashed to shoot any good size fish in the school just below the surface. We used a heavy-duty roller gun with the line attached directly to a float for those large bulls that may appear within the school. 

Once the fish were in the boat we packed them in ice and headed back to shore. I like this recipe because the nachos are a great way to share the meal with all of the crew from the day. We can easily clean the boat and organize gear while also firing up the grill for a celebratory meal. Summer time is mango season here in the Florida Keys so it is easy to get hands on fresh, local mangos that taste oh so sweet. 


2 lbs of mahi-mahi fillets

1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning

1 tbsp of oil

2 mangos, peeled and diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 purple onion, diced

1/2 cup minced cilantro

Juice from 1/2 lime, save the other half

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 bags of tortilla chips

1 bag of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup of prepared guacamole

How to prepare

  1. Preheat your grill to high or 500 degrees.
  2. Place the mahi in a large bowl. Douse the fish with oil and amply season with the Cajun spices.
  3. Place the mahi on the grill and allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes each side. You should be able to press the fish and feel a slight separation of the flakes. Once flipped, squeeze 1/2 of lime over the fish.
  4. While waiting, prepare the mango pico de gallo. Combine the mango, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, purple onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and set the pico de gallo aside.
  5. Place the tortilla chips on the baking pans and cover with cheese. Once the fish is removed from the grill, add the nacho pans to the grill and cover. This will allow the cheese to melt. It should only take a few moments.
  6. Carefully remove the pans from the grill.
  7. Top the nachos with mango pico de gallo. Flake the mah-mahi over the top of the pico de gallo. Add dabs of guacamole.
  8. You can also garnish with additional cilantro and chili powder if you choose. 
  9. Serve with a side of lime wedges and a cold beer. Enjoy!

About the Chef:

Justin Townsend has been a hunter and angler since he was a child. As a classically trained chef, he infuses his passions for the outdoors and cooking to create delicious wild game meals. After joining the Coast Guard in 2015, he moved to Key West, FL, where the island serves as a lily pad for his many adventures on land and sea. He is the author of the cookbook, Eat Wild Game, and hosts Harvesting Nature’s Wild Fish and Game Podcast, which focuses on the technical side of cooking wild fish and game while also incorporating adventures and lessons learned from his pursuit of wild meat. You can purchase his cookbook, listen to the podcast, and get more information at HarvestingNature.com.