Cooking Eorzea Week 41: Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi

Friday, December 1st, 2023

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Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

This week’s Cooking Eorzea column was the hardest column yet, and I seriously struggled with making it. It wasn’t the cooking skill, it wasn’t the timing in my life. To put it simply, I couldn’t find Mahi-Mahi with the skin on to use as an ingredient. The fact that I was able to make this dish at all was one of the biggest surprises of this year for me, and it took several unexpected turns to bring it to the finish line.

I reached out to every grocery store and every fish market that I could get ahold off within roughly a 40-minute drive of myself, and I simply could not source it. It was incredibly frustrating to talk to managers and employees who told me that they could not special order it with the skin on, and that they could not give me any advice on where I could find some Mahi-Mahi fillets with the skin on as none of them were carrying it at that time.

This dragged on for weeks, and it was the most frustrating experience I have had so far with writing Cooking Eorzea. I ended up emailing Ms. Rosenthal and Insight Editions, and I apologized to them both for how long my column was taking to write. Ms. Rosenthal responded and told me that this was not Mahi season, and that it would be easier to find from May through September.

I won’t lie, it started to break me. As November started to stretch on, I was thinking about skipping this recipe and coming back to it. With Thanksgiving approaching and me going back to see family in my home state, I reached out to one of the handful of fish markets in my hometown to ask.

And surprisingly, somehow…the first place I called said that they could get Mahi-Mahi with the skin on for me.

With that set up, I needed a place to cook since I was going to be on the opposite side of the country from my kitchen. I asked a pair of dear friends of mine if I could cook them dinner. This would be the first time I’ve cooked a Cooking Eorzea dish for someone since the Bouillabaisse recipe in July 2022, if you’re curious. My friends said ‘yes’, and I ended up borrowing their kitchen, their kitchenware, and a handful of ingredients to make the Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi with.

I had forgotten that I love cooking for others with Love, Eorzean Style. Cooking for friends, having dinner and conversation with them, and just seeing people that I haven’t seen in months was a special memory to have. If I hadn’t had such a hard time finding Mahi-Mahi, I wouldn’t have cooked for them. I really want to cook for other people more often here on out, if I can.

And hopefully, some of the upcoming recipes will let me do just that.

If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.

Recipe of the Week

The most difficult recipe to make so far, the 42nd recipe in The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook is for Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi. That is a bit ironic, since it is an ‘Easy’ rated La Noscean dish, and it truly was the easiest dish to actually make after the Nutrient-Rich Porridge that I made back in Week 5.

Anyway, here is what Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi looks like in the hands of a true chef:

Cooking Eorzea | Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi Professional Photo

Image courtesy of Insight Editions.

Featured Ingredient of the Week

Cooking Eorzea | Mahi-Mahi fillets

Photo by author.

Like there could be any other possible featured ingredient for this week’s Cooking Eorzea.

Mahi-Mahi is a ray-finned fish that lives worldwide in temperate, tropical, and sub-tropical waters. They have a single, long, dorsal fin and they can live for up to five years. They are a carnivorous fish and they can swim up to 50 knots at a time. They are also, per Ms. Rosenthal, easier to find from May through September in seafood markets!

I thought obtaining birch syrup and lotus root was difficult, but Mahi-Mahi proved to be more difficult than both of them combined. I knew after a couple of weeks of searching for this fish that I would have to make it my Ingredient of the Week once I was able to finally make this dish!

My Cooking Attempt

It was really strange cooking at someone else’s home, even if they are a pair of close friends of mine. I ended up using their salt, pepper, and pre-minced garlic. Also, because I was so far away from my own kitchen, I ended up having to use their pans, utensils, and stove top to make this week’s Cooking Eorzea dish. I also couldn’t bear to bring the Endwalker Hydaelyn/Zodiark shakers with me on multiple plane flights, so I had to leave them out of this week’s column.

Cooking Eorzea | Ingredients

Photo by author.

First, I zested the lemon. It was super weird using a zester that wasn’t my own, and I kept having to shake the zest loose from the metal device in order to get as much as possible out of it.

Cooking Eorzea | Zesting a lemon.

Photo by author.

I then sliced up half of the lemon and set those slices aside for later.

Cooking Eorzea | Sliced lemon.

Photo by author.

I then ground out pepper, salt, and used the zested lemon to coat the four Mahi-Mahi fillets.

Cooking Eorzea | Coated mahi-mahi fillets with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

Photo by author.

I turned on my friends’ stovetop, and I added some olive oil to their pan, and I started to swirl it around. The pan heated up fairly quickly, to my surprise!

Cooking Eorzea | Adding olive oil to a pan.

Photo by author.

Once the pan and the olive oil was properly heated, I added in two of the Mahi-Mahi fillets, skin down. I let them sizzle for about four minutes, and then I flipped them over and let them cook for another four minutes.

Cooking Eorzea | Cooking mahi-mahi fillets facedown.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Flipping mahi-mahi fillets over.

After taking the temperature to make sure they were cooked properly, I set those two Mahi-Mahi fillets aside and repeated the process with the other two Mahi-Mahi fillets.

Cooking Eorzea | Pan-frying more mahi-mahi fillets.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Flipping mahi-mahi fillets over.

Once I pulled out the last Mahi-Mahi fillets once they were also at the proper temperature, I added in the butter, and I let it melt down.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding butter to the same pan.

Photo by author.

Once the butter was melted down, I added in the minced garlic, and I let it cook for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, it started to burn during that time. It turns out that I misgauged the temperature of the pan. After the garlic somewhat burned, I added in the all-purpose flour.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding minced garlic.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in all-purpose flour.

I blended it all together, and it definitely was a burned mess.

Cooking Eorzea | Burned sauce.

Photo by author.

I then added the vegetable broth and the sake…

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in vegetable broth.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in sake.

…And then the lemon juice before I blended it all together.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in lemon juice.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Blending the sauce together.

Finally, I added on the lemon slices, and I allowed them to all heat up.

Cooking Eorzea | Heating up lemon slices.

Photo by author.

I then ladled the ‘sauce’ and the lemon slices onto the Mahi-Mahi fillets. I ended up having to smear the sauce onto the fillets, as it was just so gummy and solid.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding lemon slices to the mahi-mahi fillets.

Photo by author.

And here is the final Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi dish for this week’s Cooking Eorzea!

Cooking Eorzea | Pan-Fried Mahi-Mahi dish.

Photo by author.

Despite burning the garlic, I was shocked at how amazing this dish tasted. The Mahi-Mahi skin was perfectly crispy, and the fish was cooked through and hot. The citrus from the lemon juice and the spark from the sake really complimented the fish well, and I just fell in love with how light and delicious this whole dish was. My friends loved it too, and they actually made fresh mashed potatoes with the rest of the butter that I didn’t use as a side dish.

I ended up using a mixture of FINAL FANTASY XI Online and FINAL FANTASY XIV Online coasters for this week’s dish, simply because I have been drawn more and more back into Vana’diel lately and I am trying to figure out if there is some way I can belong to both that realm and Eorzea at the same time again.


The biggest issue with cooking in someone else’s kitchen is that you don’t know the little ‘quirks’ that it has. I didn’t know how quickly my friends’ pans or stove heat up, and so I ended up burning the sauce. Thankfully, it didn’t impact the flavor, but it still looked fairly ugly in the end. I would absolutely make this dish again, but I would be more cautious with the temperature I set things at when I am cooking in someone else’s home.

So, ‘thank you’ time!. I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook and for jumping in to advise me that I was looking for an out-of-season fish. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes should look, and for being patient with how long this week’s column took to write. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series on short notice. You should check him and his art out over on X. I also owe my friends a real, serious, thank you for letting me use their kitchen and their equipment to make this week’s Cooking Eorzea dish. Without their love and support, I would not have been able to make this week’s dish.

Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. I still love this series, even if I struggle with winning the Fall Guys content in the Golden Saucer.

In Two~ish Weeks

Next up: Pizza!

I have never made pizza dough before, and so this will be a real adventure for me. I have had plenty of experience making dough from the breads section of the cookbook, and so I am really hopeful that it will serve me well with this upcoming recipe attempt!

Have you ever struggled to obtain a cooking ingredient before? What was it?

Let us know in the comments below!