Recipe: Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots

Today I did a Facebook LIVE from the Clean Eating Magazine Facebook page and made my Sustainable Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots. In case you missed the LIVE, you can still watch me cook (or cook alongside me) the tacos here:

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And for those of you who want the recipe, I’ve included it for your dining pleasure!

taco-lyon

Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots
Yield: 8 tacos

Pickled Shallots
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ pound shallots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
½ cup + 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Place shallots in a medium bowl.

Heat water, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over shallots and add vinegar. Stir together.

Let sit until taco time!

Chipotle Crema:
¼ cup organic sour cream
1½ teaspoons adobo sauce
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix to combine ingredients together in a small bowl.

Catfish:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless catfish fillets (approximately 6 filets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided.

In a small bowl, mix to combine the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.

Pat catfish fillets dry with a paper towel. Season the fish on both sides evenly with the spice mix.

Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the butter bubbles up, turns brown and perhaps even smokes, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl the pan so the butter coats the bottom of the pan.

Gently add three of the catfish fillets to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove fillets from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined sheet tray or plate. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and repeat the process with the remaining fish. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

Assembling the Taco:
8 corn tortillas, warmed through
2 avocados, pitted and sliced
½ cup shredded purple cabbage
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, quartered

Smear a dollop of chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. Top with a few slices of avocado. Add some catfish, cabbage, pickled shallot and cilantro. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. Eat. Repeat.

Not Too Spicy Green Papaya Salad

(Hey! Update to this post – you can watch me make this salad on my YouTube page. Thanks and now back to the blog…)

California drought friendly and delicious, this papaya salad is a refreshing, bright, crunchy, herbaceous and spicy (not too spicy!) dish, perfect for warm weather months.

Super Sous and I traveled to Vietnam in February, our first stop being Hanoi, the capital city in the North. Upon arrival, we immediately arranged a street food tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi (where we were staying). Our wonderful guide, Tam, took us on a whirlwind food extravaganza through the streets, alleys and hidden corridors to eat some of the best food Hanoi has to offer. From classics like Bun Cha to Egg Coffee to Beef Pho we ate A LOT, probably hitting up 7 different street food vendors/restaurants within the 3 hours of wandering.

Our third stop for the night was at a spot that served the best Papaya Salad we have ever had. At first, Super Sous and I were a little nervous about this dish as papaya salads we have eaten in Thai restaurants have been extremely spicy, but this salad was the perfect blend and balance of sweet, sour and spice. It was then that Super Sous and I fell in love with the Vietnamese papaya salad and despite our best efforts to not overeat and pace ourselves that evening, we couldn’t resist finishing off the whole salad.

Tam NL SS

Me, Tam – our street food tour guide – and Super Sous

Upon returning to California, we created our own version which comes pretty close to our experience. A note about the green papaya – you can find these in an Asian grocery store. (Sometimes they even have it pre-shredded in bags – score!) To shred yourself, cut in half, peel the section you want to use and shred using a citrus zester (photo below), a “noodler” (the instrument that makes zucchini noodles) a food processor (with the shredding attachment) or a box grater.

Citrus Zester

Citrus Zester

Now, a note about drought friendly recipes: Super Sous and I started the project of creating drought friendly recipes as a way for all of us around the country to help conserve California’s water. What I love about this recipe is the use of Virginia peanuts. They are so good! (It wouldn’t at all have anything to do with me being a Native Virginian…) Peanuts are a groundnut and therefore do not grow like almonds or walnuts in large orchards that require a lot of watering. Peanuts are a good source of protein and with their low water footprint, are a great alternative to almonds. According to the Water Footprint Organization, it takes 381 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of peanuts, whereas almonds require 6 times that amount. So, yay for peanuts!

green papaya salad

Green Papaya Salad

Yields: 2 servings

 

Dressing:

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a microplane

½ teaspoon freshly grated garlic, grated on a microplane

2 teaspoons minced lemongrass

¼ Bird’s eye aka Thai chili, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Salad:

2 cups packed shredded green papaya

¼ cup grated carrot (1 medium carrot)

½ cup thinly sliced green beans, sliced on a bias (8 beans)

3 tablespoons whole toasted peanuts

½ cup quartered grape tomatoes (7 tomatoes)

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup fresh Thai basil leaves

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

 

Combine dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves.

Add papaya, carrot and green beans to dressing and massage ingredients together with your hands for approximately 30 seconds, to meld all flavors and allow dressing to permeate papaya.

Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Divide onto plates and serve.

Alaskan True Cod Taco with Pickled Radish and Radish Top Salsa

Another in the series of Drought Friendly Recipes.

In our last post, Super Sous and I wrote about food waste and gave two recipes utilizing radishes and radish tops. Today’s taco puts those two recipes to great use in this flavorful recipe that’s not only easy to prepare and delicious, but beautiful. Just look at those colors! Bonus – it’s not only a drought friendly recipe, but it’s a sustainable seafood dish. Boom!

First – make the Pickled Radish and Radish Top Salsa. Then, bring on the tacos…

Radish Top and Red Pepper Salsa

Radish Top Salsa

pickeld radish

Pickled Radish

Cod Taco Close

Taco Up Close and Personal!

Cod Taco Full

Colorful Taco!

Cod Taco Hand

Alaskan True Cod Taco with Pickled Radish and Radish Top Red Pepper Salsa

Yield: 6 tacos

Cod:

1 pound wild Alaskan true cod, 1-inch thick

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Pat the fish dry and season all over with salt and pepper.

Place a medium non stick sauté pan over medium heat and add oil.

Let heat for 2 minutes until oil is very hot.

Add fish and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. You will know the fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and begins to flake.

Remove fish from pan and transfer to a plate. Flake the fish with a fork or fingers into bite-sized pieces. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Assembling the Taco:

6 Corn tortillas, warmed through

2 avocados, pitted and sliced thinly

½ cup shredded purple cabbage

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Place a cabbage on the tortilla, followed by avocado slices, fish, pickled radish and top with salsa. Sprinkle cilantro leaves and serve.

People Magazine

If there was ever a week to buy People Magazine, or to flip through the pages as you wait in the check out line of your local grocery store, this is the week! The February 2 issue (J Lo on the cover) page 81. You’ll find my Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad recipe. It’s quick and easy to make and darn right tasty. So, grab a People, people! And if you are looking for more delicious recipes, try my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, which you can purchase at www.chefnathanlyon.com

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Sustainable Seafood Tacos for National Taco Day!

Mark your calendars and join me in celebrating ocean-friendly seafood during October – National Seafood Month – by enjoying a sustainable seafood taco on NATIONAL TACO DAY, this SATURDAY, October 4! (What a great day!) Chefs across the country are joining together to give this year’s celebration a sustainable twist and so can you. 

Choose a seafood from Seafood Watch’s best choice list to make your own sustainable seafood tacos at home OR you can use my recipe for Spiced Mahi Mahi tacos with Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Crema. Either way, be sure to share your dish on social media using the hashtags: #MakeItSustainable #taco 

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Mahi Mahi Curry

I mostly cook French/Mediterranean/California style cooking, but sometimes I just want something different. More flavors, more spices-a trip beyond the Mediterranean. This dish is all about something new – going a bit beyond my comfort zone as far as recipe development. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, this dish is well worth it. Warm, balanced, flavorful, delicious. It’s like a vacation for your palate – no passport necessary. (Bonus: it’s a sustainable seafood dish!)

Mahi Mahi Curry

Mahi Mahi Curry

Yield: 4 servings

 

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 large yellow onion, diced small, 3 cups

1 fennel bulb, diced small, 2 cups

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 serrano pepper, seeded and deveined, diced small

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ¼ teaspoon ground fennel

¾ teaspoon turmeric

1 sprig fresh curry (approximately 16 fresh curry leaves)

¾ teaspoon garam malasa

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned

1/2 pound small red potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds

1 14-ounce can light coconut milk

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 ¼ pounds US Atlantic mahi mahi filets, cut into 6 equal sized pieces

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 lemon, halved

 

In an oval Dutch oven over medium-high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it’s shimmering, approximately 1 minute.

Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly caramelized, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Add garlic, Serrano pepper, ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cumin, fennel, turmeric, curry leaves and garam masala. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if pan feels dry after adding the spices and then add bell pepper. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to break up any brown bits. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until bell pepper has softened.

Add the potatoes, coconut milk and stock. Stir and cover. Let simmer on medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are al dente.

In the meantime, remove fish from refrigerator. Pat dry and season (both sides) with 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper.

In large sauté pan oven over high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it starts to smoke, approximately 1 minute.

Add fish pieces and let cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fish is seared nicely on one side. Remove fish from the pan and set aside.

Going back to your oval dutch oven, once potatoes are al dente, add the tomatoes, stir and then nestle fish pieces in the pan, seared side up, and continue simmering, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes until fish flakes apart easily. If your filets are thin, it will take a shorter amount of time, so check on your fish for doneness frequently. (My oval dutch oven had an inner ring of rapid simmering liquid in the center of the pan and I nestled my fish around that inner circle of bubbliness so it wasn’t directly in the boil, but just snuggled up to it.)

Remove from heat, squeeze half a lemon over and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon as needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve to hungry guests. Have lemon wedges on hand.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

This is the perfect salad to make when you don’t have much time and just want to grab a few things from the pantry to make a delicious dish. Good for lunch or dinner and perfect for a hot day, like the one we are having here in Southern California! (Bonus: this is a sustainable seafood dish!)

Tuna and White bean Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced (1 teaspoon)

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

2 (5-ounce) cans of sustainable skipjack or albacore tuna in extra-virgin olive oil, undrained (I like Ocean Naturals, American Tuna & Wild Planet brands)

1 (15-ounce) can of white beans (Great Northern beans), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 (12-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus some whole leaves for garnish

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the garlic, shallot, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Open the cans of tuna and put them into a small bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna, then season to taste with salt and pepper. It will need some seasoning—trust me.

Mix the white beans, capers, artichoke hearts, and chopped parsley with half the vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve one cup of arugula on a plate with a scoop of the bean salad and one quarter of the tuna. Use a vegetable peeler to top the with some shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, then sprinkle with the whole parsley leaves. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the salad, if desired.