Lime-Soy Grilled Fish Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Lime-Soy Grilled Fish Recipe

Do you live in a house where everybody agrees on what should be served for dinner?  Where your favorites are his favorites are their favorites?  Are you that lucky?  No?  Consider your household normal, as is mine and the house I grew up in.  I remember as a child I was already not fond of meat.  Sometimes I could tolerate it if it didn’t seem like meat, such as a meatball or if it were cut into tiny pieces in a sauce or stew.  But if bones and skin were attached, I was out.  On the other hand, my youngest sister’s favorite food group was animal protein.  She would gnaw on a steak or lamb bone until it was dry.  I get nauseous thinking about it.  Of course my mother wanted to make everyone happy, so planning meals for our family was a balancing act of accommodating all of our likes and dislikes, except my father, who bless his heart, eats everything.

When I sit down to come up with our weekly meal plan, I think about the same thing.  I make sure there’s at least one item that Mr. Picky will eat each night, one Italian night for my husband, and one fish dinner to make me happy.  I’ve always liked fish, even as a child, and I still prefer it over chicken or beef.  The type of fish I eat has evolved over the years based on my maturity, but more importantly, based on what I have learned about the sustainability and safety of the fish that’s available.  My absolute favorite fish used to be swordfish.  It is meaty, mild and so versatile.  Unfortunately, it is also full of mercury and no longer a healthful option, according to my sources such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide.

This recipe today is inspired from the first cookbook I ever bought (in 1987!), The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook, and it called for swordfish.  It’s an absolutely delicious, tart and savory marinade which I have tweaked a bit over the years.  Funny enough, when I first started making this dish, I was probably 19 years old and not a very experienced cook.  The recipe called for lime zest which sounded like more trouble than it was worth, so I left it out for many years.  One day I came to my senses and took the time (all 3 minutes) to zest a lime, and it was a hundred times better with this one ingredient.  An ah-ha! moment for me for sure.  Sometimes laziness doesn’t pay off.

I am still making this recipe with minor modifications, such as the addition of a little maple syrup to sweeten it a tad, and using fish that aren’t red-flagged.  I typically make wild Alaskan salmon once per week, but other fish in the rotation include wild Alaskan halibut, mahi-mahi, and shrimp when my husband isn’t home for dinner.  What I love about this recipe, besides that fact that is has stood the test of time, is that this marinade is just as delicious on many other fish as it was on swordfish. I’ve shown it in these photographs with wild salmon above and halibut below, but mahi-mahi is great, too.  It’s also really simple to put together and quick to cook, making this a perfect weeknight dish.  I wanted to post this recipe this week in case you were looking for something to balance out the burgers on Father’s Day.  Dad can still “man” the grill and everyone’s happy!

Lime-Soy Grilled Fish
Author: Pamela, adapted from The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes (zest them before juicing)
  • ¼ cup unrefined olive oil or melted coconut oil + extra for brushing the grill
  • 1 Tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 6 pieces of wild salmon, halibut or mahi-mahi, about 4-6 ounces each (keep the skin on, if possible)
  1. To make the marinade, combine all ingredients except fish in a small bowl.
  2. Arrange the fish in a glass or non-reactive dish just large enough to hold the fish and the marinade. Pour HALF the marinade over the fish and allow to sit at room temperature for 10-45 minutes (depending on how much time you have.)
  3. Preheat the grill or broiler until hot. If using the grill, place some oil in a small bowl and use it to grease the grill. Place fish skin-side down and grill about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Discard marinade that the fish was sitting in. Cook fish until it starts to flake, but is still rare inside.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and pour the reserved marinade over each piece of fish and cover with a piece of foil for 5 minutes.

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  1. Made this to go with some black cod we were gifted by our neighbors. Incredibly delicious!!

    • Sounds incredible! So happy you enjoyed it.

  2. OMG Made this for the second time in a week! SO easy and do good! Once with salmon and once with halibut and I prefer the lime with the milder fish. I used one lime and added about a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Delish!!! Thank you!!!!

    • I used to make this with swordfish back in the day when swordfish wasn’t on the red light list. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. You are a genius. Thats all I can say. Thank you for another outstanding dish!

    • All I can say is…maybe YOU’RE the genius! Thank you, Rafaela 🙂

  4. PAMELA“my life has just become so much easier! the prep on this was minimal and everyone wanted 2nds. they think I am amazing! I listenedto your readers and served it with your coconutrice,and your carrot and avocado salad. for anyone who has kids,,they loved putting their own coconut flakes on 🙂
    I am full of confidence,,having your site to rely on-many thanks…it is so easy to sleep instead of constantly thinking of recipes thru the night!! 🙂

    • I have news for you. YOU ARE AMAZING!! Beyond! I am so grateful for your sharing, thank you. 🙂

  5. Hi Pamela,
    This has become one of our favorite recipes. I ‘m making it with cod tomorrow for some friends who are coming over. To make sure everyone has enough to eat, I’m making cod sandwiches with fresh bakery rolls. Do you have any suggestions for a sauce I can use on the bread? I was thinking an aioli, but I’m not sure.

    • Nice! If it were up to me, I would keep it simple. So a plain aioli or one with lime and/or chipotle would work. Or you could go in a different direction and do something with miso and ginger. I think the sandwiches would also be yummy with some avocado slices and shredded lettuce!

      • I love the chipotle idea! Thanks very much!

  6. Amazing!!! I made this last night using mahi-mahi and just popped it under the broiler. My fiance said it’s his favorite thing I’ve made, of course I was glowing. Thanks for making me look so good, Pamela!

    • It’s all you, Cate! But I’m tickled to hear of your success in the kitchen — makes my day! Thank you~

  7. Hi Pamela,
    I made this with broiled wild salmon. It was delicious. I served it with your coconut rice. I thought I’d pass on the tidbit that I made it with whole grain dijon. It was really beautiful…speckled. My husband thought it was pepper-crusted and my 5 year old loved that it was polka-doted. Everyone thought it was delicious. And it really is so easy. Thank you so much.

    • I’m so glad you left this comment, Erica. I like whole grain mustard more than Dijon and I’m not sure why I never tried it here. Going to now! Thanks!

  8. I just made this for my inlaws with salmon and prawns. Delish! They are Jamaican and I served this with the coconut rice recipe and grilled carrots and they were impressed with the tropical feel of the recipe. Thanks, Pamela!

    • What a great menu, Devvon!

  9. Can i use the George forman To grill the salmón¿

    • I don’t see why not! I have also broiled the salmon in the oven and that worked perfectly, too.

      • How long do you broil in oven for ???

        • It depends on the thickness of the fish. For thin sockeye salmon fillets, it may take a total of 5 minutes under the broiler. I only broil one side (skin-side up) for thin fillets because my family loves the crispy skin. I position my oven rack 5-6 inches from the broiler. Thicker fillets could take 3-5 minutes on each side.

  10. This fish marinade is perfectly balanced, salty, sweet, tart!!! We all loved it!

    • That’s the perfect way to describe it! Thanks, Jane~

  11. I love this marinade! It would be great to just have this on hand throughout the week. How long do you think it will keep in the refrigerator if I make some extra?

    • I think it will last 3-4 days in the fridge just fine. I forgot to mention that I tried this with chicken and it was delicious!

      • How long would you marinate the chicken? Could it marinate overnight?

        Thank you!

        • I have marinated it in the morning for dinnertime, but I think you could marinate it overnight just fine.

  12. Making it tonight with White Alaskan Wild Salmon from Bristol Farms! Along with your delish cauliflower/millet mash and roasted broccolini! Yum!

    • Yum is right! Perfect meal. 🙂

  13. So…didn’t have salmon but I had halibut…and it turned out awesome! I served it over a bed of long grain wild rice and your sautéed sweet potatoes and apple recipe…I have very happy men in my home tonight…oh…did I mention I started Fathers Day with the mushroom, kale and brown rice bake, zucchini pancakes and the smoothies…thank you for making me look sooooooo good!!!!!

    • Well, hello Awesomeness! No doubt your guys are happy — you are a star! Hope you had fun cooking!

  14. This marinade sounds delicious. Thank you for the recipe! If I use the broiler, how long should I cook salmon for and is there anything I need to do differently?

    • You’re welcome, Joann! The amount of time to broil salmon can range from 5 to 10 minutes if you’re about 5 inches from the heat, depending on the thickness of the fish and if it’s wild or farm-raised. I find wild cooks more quickly. I think if your salmon is about an inch thick, you can broil for 8-10 minutes. Insert the tip of your knife into the center of the fish and if it’s warm, and starting to flake, you’re good. You want it to be a little rare. Remove from oven, pour a little reserved marinade on top and cover with foil for 5 minutes. Delish!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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