Spiced Catfish Tacos with Pickled Shallots and Chipotle Crema

Spiced Catfish Tacos with Pickled Shallots and Chipotle Crema

Chef Nathan Lyon improves upon the traditional seafood taco by pairing seasoned catfish with avocado, cabbage, pickled shallots and a dollop of chipotle crema. Finish with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime for a light and flavorful dish.

Nathan Lyon
Recipe by: Nathon Lyon

Cookbook author, chef and Emmy Award-nominated culinary host for television show "Good Food America."


(Serves 4)

  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed through
  • 2 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered

Pickled Shallots

  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound shallots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Chipotle Crema

  • 1/4 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Place shallots in a medium bowl. Heat water, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over shallots and add vinegar. Stir together. Let sit until taco time!
  2. Combine all chipotle crema ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix well.
  3. Remove catfish from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Evenly coat the catfish with the spice rub on all sides. Discard any excess spice rub.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the butter bubbles up, turns brown and perhaps even smokes, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl the pan so the butter coats the bottom of the pan.
  5. Gently add three of the catfish filets to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Remove filets from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined sheet tray or plate. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and repeat the process with the remaining fish. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

Assembling the taco:

Smear a dollop of chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. Top with a few slices of avocado. Add some catfish, cabbage, pickled shallot and cilantro. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. Eat. Repeat.