I’m always on the lookout for something I can make quickly on Friday nights. I love cooking, but Friday night is about the perfect glass of wine, a delicious dinner and downtime with the husband at our house.  I also love taking something that’s “the hip dish” at restaurants and figuring out recipes to make them at home.

This week’s experiment is an Asian twist on fish tacos. With all sorts of herbs and fresh ingredients, its a celebration of colours and textures with crisp purple cabbage, bold red onion, creamy green avocado and crunchy orange carrots. The Thai flavors of lime, peanut, chile and the teensiest hint of coconut bring new life to this modern classic. Grilling the fish makes these tacos lighter and healthier than the common battered and fried version. I served with it with an ice cold glass of Pinot Grigio – – it was a great start to the weekend, let me tell you!

Tacos

  • 2 pounds catfish fillets (about 3 fillets)
  • Oil for the grill
  • Flour tortillas or crispy taco shells (oven warmed)
  • Avocado, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges

Thai Slaw Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 juicy limes)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chile paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, more if needed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey, more to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Thai Slaw

  • 3 cups angel hair coleslaw mix
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup fine diced mango
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Instructions

  1. To make the Slaw Dressing, whisk fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, chili paste, coconut milk and peanut butter together in small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Thin with coconut milk if needed to obtain a sauce that pours easily. Taste and adjust seasoning with honey (I like mine a bit less sweet – but if honey’s your thing, go for it!) and finish it off with the heat of red pepper flakes.
  2. To make the Thai Slaw, combine ginger, coleslaw, carrots and mango in a large bowl. Toss with half of slaw dressing. Set remaining dressing aside for serving with tacos.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Rub both sides of fish with a little oil. When grill is hot, use tongs to rub the grate with an oiled paper towel. Grill fish 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Meanwhile, wrap a stack of tortillas in foil and place on grill over low heat, turning once while fish cooks.
  4. When fish is done, remove it from the grill and cut into pieces. Pile fish in warm tortillas or oven-warmed traditional crispy taco shells. Top with Thai slaw, sliced avocado, cilantro leaves and extra Thai slaw dressing. Serve with lime wedges.