Lucy Buffett has a flare for the fancy things in life. As the owner and namesake of LuLu’s Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores, she’s always thinking up creative seafood recipes with a bit of spice and a whole lot of flavor. (If you haven’t already, flip through “Crazy Sista Cooking: Cuisine & Conversation.” You’ll want to cook ‘em all.)
And that’s exactly what you can expect from her Mahi Soft Tacos. So if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, climb aboard and enjoy the ride.
(Remember, before you prepare the Mahi-Mahi filets, you’ll need to do the Cuban Black Beans, Chipotle Cream Sauce and Lucy’s Sassy Salsa. Keep scrolling for those recipes.)
Start by preheating your oven to 300 degrees while you prepare your ingredients.
Take your Mahi-Mahi filets and coat them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the LuLu’s Chipotle Taco Seasoning, then set them aside for a minute.
Warm up the Cuban Black Beans if they’ve cooled off a bit, combine the two cheeses in a small bowl, and mix the two cabbages in another bowl.
Once the oven is ready, wrap the tortilla shells in aluminum foil and stick them in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up.
Now it’s time to cook the filets. Find a large cast iron or heavy skillet and coat it with the rest of the olive oil before putting it over medium heat. (If it’s too hot, it’ll start smoking on you.) Once the olive oil begins to sizzle, place the filets in the skillet and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (Be careful when you turn the filets; they’ll tear apart easily.) If you can easily stick a toothpick through the filets, you know they’re done. Remove the filets from the heat when they’re ready and chop them up into bite-size pieces (or as big as you’d like them).
The last step is the fun one: assembly. You can’t go wrong no matter what order you build your tacos, but we recommend starting with the fish and adding the Cuban Black Beans, cheese, cabbage, and Chipotle Cream Sauce, in that order. (If you prefer a sturdier taco, you can double-up on the tortilla shells for each one.)
Grab a bag of tortilla chips, pull the LuLu’s Sassy Salsa out of the fridge, and you’re ready to eat.
Cuban Black Beans
For this recipe, a simple black beans recipe will do if you’re short on time. But because the recipe calls for LuLu’s version, that’s what we recommend.
First, make sure you’ve picked through the black beans to get rid of any debris. Soak the beans overnight, wake up the next morning, and rinse them off. Fire up a Dutch oven on medium heat, put in the 7 cups of water and the soaked beans, then let it boil over medium high heat. (If you don’t have the time for an overnight recipe, you can substitute a can of black beans; you’ll just be losing a little bit of the flavor and freshness.)
While the beans are boiling, grab a heavy sauté pan, pour in the olive oil and heat it. Add the ham, onions, bell pepper, celery, and the whole jalapeño (make sure it’s whole, now), then sauté until slightly tender. Season the mixture with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper once it’s ready.
Next, combine the mixture with the beans and stir it up. Add in the bay leaves, cumin, coriander, and oregano, then toss in the remaining salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to cook, so set the heat to a low boil for at least 1½ hours or until tender. (Make sure you stir the beans often; if you let it alone, beans will begin to stick to the bottom of the pot.) As the beans are cooking, add a bit more water if they look dry.
Once the beans are ready to go, remove the jalapeño just before serving and throw in the LuLu’s Clearly Crazy Hot Sauce (or the white vinegar if you don’t want it too spicy).
Chipotle Cream Sauce
Any proper seafood taco calls for a bold sauce selection, and this one’s easy to make.
Find a trustworthy food processor and throw in the lime juice, lemon juice, salt, cumin, seasoning and whole chipotle peppers (you can use only a pepper or two if you’re not big on spicy flavors), then blend the mixture until the peppers are pureed. Add the sour cream and blend it again until it’s smooth.
Store the sauce in the refrigerator so that it’ll be chilled when it’s time to serve.
LuLu’s Sassy Salsa
The name says it all: Lucy Buffett likes her tacos with a little kick, and a flavorful salsa is exactly what you need here.
Start off by pouring the tomatoes (juice and all) into the same trustworthy food processor you used for the sauce. But don’t blend it too much—you only need a couple of pulses to keep your tomato sauce nice and chunky.
Once the tomatoes are as chunky as you’d like them, transfer them to a large glass bowl. Throw the jalapeños and lime juice in the food processor and fire it up until they’re pureed. (You can add the garlic to this mixture too if you like.)
Add the pureed jalapeños to the tomatoes and toss in the cilantro, onions, cumin, salt, sugar and garlic (if you didn’t already add it). Stir the mixture well, then stick it in the fridge for 2 hours so it’ll stay cool.
Courtesy of Lucy Buffett and Lulu’s Homeport Marina.