Thursday, July 15, 2010

Marinated Swai (White Fish) and Grilled Avocados

I have a shameful secret, and I’m about to confess it publicly: I bought frozen fish.

It’s entirely possible this wouldn’t be shameful where you live, but I live in Seattle where frozen fish is sacrilege. But in my defense, I’m a word girl, so when I saw an unfamiliar word on a package of fish at the supermarket, I couldn’t resist.


That was the word that caused me to turn my back on my Seattle brethren. Swai. I don’t even know how it’s pronounced. Sway, as in Sway to the music? Or Swhy, as in Swhy on earth did you buy frozen fish?!
But whatever, I bought it. I’ll get over the guilt.

One of my goals when I started this blog was to link to recipes I find online and, since I had no idea how to cook swai, this seemed like a good time to get started. So I searched for swai recipes and discovered the fish is also known as basa and panga. It’s from the catfish family, a firm white fish.

And it’s farm-raised in Viet Nam.

I’m nervous eating seafood in Illinois because the fish is flown in from the coast. And now I'm going to eat frozen fish flown all the way in from Viet Nam? What was I thinking?

I settled on this recipe for Basa Swai with Lemon Pepper. Which, interestingly, does not have lemon pepper on it. It has lemon and pepper, but no lemon pepper.

The first ingredient of the marinade is white wine or Italian dressing. Rule of thumb: Always choose the wine.

I marinated the fish for four hours. The fillets weren’t completely thawed when I put them into the marinade, but they were by the time I took them out.
While they were marinating, a Facebook fan told me that she found a recipe for Avocado Fries on the Taste of Home Facebook page. That recipe was on Although they looked delicious, I decided that recipe was more work than I wanted to do last night, but I noticed a recipe for Grilled Guacamole. I was intrigued.

In the end, even smooshing the avocados with a fork was more work than I wanted to do, so I grilled the avocados and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper and left it at that. I was worried that flipping the avocados would be difficult because they’re so soft, but it wasn’t too bad. I did leave little bits of green on the grill.

My husband loved the grilled avocado. I liked it fine, but I like it better raw and didn’t think grilling was worth the effort. My dog felt that she would’ve liked either of them, and she felt it very strongly.

And voila! Marinated Swai and Grilled Avocado. Doesn’t it look pretty?

The marinade is light and tasty, and the fish tasted pretty good. I’ll make it again… but I’ll use it on fresh fish next time.


  1. AnonymousJuly 15, 2010

    WOW! Looks good. Now I'm going to see if I can find Swai in my neck of the woods! LOL! If I find out how to properly pronounce it I'll let you know! Still like my avocados as guacamole though!

    Sharon S

  2. I love guacamole, Sharon! I might just try the recipe I linked to above for Grilled Guacamole.

  3. I love avocado. I eat it on bagels, sandwiches, salads and just w/a dash of lemon/salt/pepper as a side dish. NEVER thought to grill them.

    We have lots of catfish in our local lakes. I won't eat catfish. They are bottom feeders.

    Of course, if I saw a bag of frozen filets labeled Swai, I would have bought them too. Swai sounds s'WAY interesting.

    I will try that marinade on another type fish though. Sounds delish!

  4. Marie, I had never thought of grilling avocados, either. If you try it, let me know what you think. Have fun with the marinade!

  5. Susan - Thanks for using the recipe for Basa Swai with Lemon Pepper that we published on Rich's for the Home blog:

    I agree that fresh fish always tastes better (especially salmon -- we had grilled Copper River salmon last night -- delish!)

    If you or your Seattle-area peeps are interested in winning Steven Raichlen's RIBS, RIBS, RIBS cookbook, Rich's is holding a BBQ Trivia contest today (starting at 9 a.m.) through Memorial Day on their blog, They're giving away five cookbooks. Come on over and play!

    Now that I know about your blog, I am going to investigate your books.

    Laura Christianson (on behalf of Rich's)