Cook the Book: Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw

Cook the Book: Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

Joe Yonan's Serve Yourself is set up for solo eating but all of the recipes are easily multiply-able and more than good enough to share with a crowd. These Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw can go from single serving to dinner party with nearly no added prep or cooking time. With a creamy slaw and perfectly fried fish, they have serious West Coast fish taco cred and make for ideal spring and summer eating.

Yonan keeps it simple with a slaw made of shredded red cabbage dressed with a chipotle-accented sour cream. Quick cooking catfish is seasoned, dipped in egg, dredged though panko, and fried until crisp and golden. Wrapped in stove-top warmed corn tortillas, a scoop of slaw, and finished with a spoonful of salsa verde and a squeeze of lime, these tacos have no need for guac or cheese. Crunchy fish, crisp slaw, and a touch of sour heat from the salsa verde—even if you're cooking for one, you might just want to double the recipe.

Adapted from Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:1
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 small head)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle in adobo) or 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
  • 6 ounces catfish fillet, cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Japanese-style panko
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde or other tangy salsa
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters
  • A few sprigs cilantro (optional)


  1. 1.

    Toss the cabbage and salt in a colander set over a plate or baking sheet, put a plate directly on the cabbage, and weight it down with a heavy object, such as a large can of tomatoes or beans, for at least 30 minutes. Drain the cabbage.

  2. 2.

    Lay out a couple of sheets of paper towels on your countertop. Transfer the cabbage to the paper towels. Roll up the paper towels and, holding it above a bowl, use your hands to squeeze the extra moisture out of the cabbage. Transfer the cabbage to a small bowl and add the crema and adobo sauce.

  3. 3.

    Season the catfish well on both sides with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl until just combined; spread the panko on a plate. Dredge each piece of catfish first in the egg, then in the panko, packing the panko lightly onto the fish with your hands to get it to stick.

  4. 4.

    Line a plate with paper towels. Pour enough canola oil into a large cast-iron skillet to come to a depth of 1/2 inch and turn the heat to medium-high. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the fish and fry without turning until the panko crumbs are a deep golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn and fry until golden brown on the other side, another 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the fish to the paper towel–lined plate. (Alternatively, preheat the oven to 425°F. After coating the fish, transfer it to a small rack set on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and crisp.)

  5. 5.

    While the fish is frying or baking, warm the tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.

  6. 6.

    To make the tacos, lay the tortillas out on a plate. Divide the fish strips among the tortillas. Top with the chipotle slaw, salsa verde, a squeeze of lime, and cilantro, and eat.