Yes, I am talking about catfish tacos. They are very popular in the US, found on many southwestern and tex-mex menus. I can’t recall having seen them anywhere in Amsterdam, so I decided to make my own.
Luckily there are plenty of recipes available online. I liked the catfish tacos with thai cabbage slaw by Whole Foods Market. The Thai slaw dressing with coconut milk and peanut butter is a nice twist. The catfish is grilled. And there is a nice video that explains very nicely how to make the catfish tacos.
There is no Whole Foods Market in Amsterdam, so I set out to procure the ingredients elsewhere. The good news is that everything is available in decent quality and easy enough to find!
The biggest obstacle? Finding out the Dutch word for catfish – zeewolf. I always struggle with translating and remembering fish names. When I have to, I turn to a handy brochure published by visbureau.nl – a Dutch fishermen’s marketing organization – that not only lists all fishing companies but also has an extensive appendix with fish names in English, Dutch, German, French and Italian. Well prepared linguistically, I got some nice zeewolf at Marqt, expensive but very good in fish and herbs. I also got fresh cilantro there.
I wasn’t sure about availability of flour tortillas. But it turned out to be easy, too. Sandwich wraps are very popular in Amsterdam and all supermarkets carry soft tortillas nowadays. While at the supermarket I also picked up peanut butter and honey.
My Turkish corner shop usually has the best fruit and veggies and I went there for avocado, limes, red cabbage, carrots, radish and red onion. And the Toko across the street stocks fish sauce, sesame oil, red chili paste, coconut milk and red pepper flakes if you don’t have them in the house.
Here is a picture of my stash of zeewolf, tarwebloem schijven and more, ready to be turned into yummy catfish tacos.
The recipe is quick and easy and can be done in less than 30 minutes if you are well organized. Make sure you have plenty of catfish so that the the flavor of the slaw will not be overpowering. And simply broil the fish at the highest temperature in the oven if you – like most Amsterdammers – do not have a grill.
With the tacos, we had a lovely bottle of the Pacherenc du Vic Bilh that we bought at Gall & Gall the other day. The pungent and mineral-flavored Pacherenc worked very well with the catfish and the Thai dressing.
Enjoy! Eet smakelijk!!