Coconut-Smoked Mahi-Mahi with Curried Pineapple Serrano Salsa

This chile pepper gets its name from its origin. In Spanish, serrano is an adjective meaning “from the mountains” which is where it originated-in the mountains of Hildalgo, Mexico. The serrano is normally about twice as hot as Jalapeno (about 10,000 to 15,000 Scoville units). It is the second most popular chile pepper in Mexico. This chile is used mostly for salsas but can also be used in soups, sauces, chili or stews. Try these as a hotter substitute for Jalapeno.

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1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. rice wine
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. ground habanero chile
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 fresh coconut, broken in pieces, reserving the milk
4 mahi-mahi fillets, or substitute snapper or grouper

Curried Pineapple Serrano Salsa:

1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut in 1/4″ pieces
3 serrano chiles, stems removed, chopped
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro


In a bowl, combine the oil, rice wine, lime juice, chile and ginger to make a marinade. Place the fish in a non-reactive dish and pour the marinade over the top. Keep covered, at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Prepare a fire in a water smoker or a charcoal grill and when hot, place the coconut pieces on the coals. Pour the reserved coconut milk in the pan along with the water. Smoke the fish for 1-2 hours or until the fish flakes, keeping a very low heat. You may quickly baste a couple of times with the marinade, if desired, to keep the fish from drying out.

To make the salsa:

Grill the pineapple slices or heat them in a pan for 5-10 minutes until the pineapple has browned. Dice the pineapple and combine all the ingredients for the salsa, except for the cilantro, and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour to blend the flavors. Toss and serve with the cilantro.

Place the fish on individual pates, top with a little salsa, and serve the remaining salsa on the side.

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach.