Home > recipes, resources, supper > Swai. That’s right, swai.

Swai. That’s right, swai.

Let me guess, you’ve never heard of it either.  Cub Foods had a great sale on frozen fish, so I picked up four pounds of frozen fish for about $10.  There wasn’t much of a selection, so I grabbed a couple of packs of cod (a favorite), one of tilapia, and because I was curious, one of swai.  When I got around to cooking it, I was as completely clueless about this fish as when I bought it.  It was a firm fleshed white fish, I decided to go the safest route that I could think of: baking it.  Which is what the bag recommended as well.

These fillets were quite large. That’s a 9×13 pan they are crammed in.

I seasoned the fish with a dill dip blend that I like to put on cod and a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over it.  It then went into a 375 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes.  It turned out to be decent, but I think it would have been better pan fried.  Flavor-wise, it reminded me of catfish which makes sense from the research that I did for this post.  And should have done before I cooked the darn things.

Basically, swai is a Southeast Asian river catfish that is farmed commercially and available across the U.S. in its frozen form.  There are some concerns about the farming practices used to raise this fish, so domestic catfish is a better sustainable option.  The flavor is milder than channel cats and the flesh is a bit more delicate.  Knowing this now, I would have taken an entirely different approach to cooking swai.  I would have treated it just like catfish, i.e. cornmeal breading and deep frying the nuggets.

I found a couple of websites that I have now bookmarked and will be referencing quite a bit in the future.  The first one is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  This site is jam-packed with information about ocean issues, sustainability, recipes by some pretty big names, and info about numerous types of seafood species, just to name a few of the areas.  The other site is Chef’s Resources.  I haven’t dug around this one much, but what I can say is that it has all the info that you can think of that is useful in the kitchen.  For example: flavor profiles, purchasing guidelines, nutritional info, history/habitat of the species, and in the case of fish, a link to the Montery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch page.

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