Virginia Willis Blog

Southern Recipes: Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos

Sustainable catfish tacos on

Sustainable Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos

Sustainable Seafood: Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos

October is National Seafood Month. Join in the celebration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium & Seafood Watch National Sustainable Seafood Taco Day on Saturday, October 4. Chefs nationwide will be highlighting tacos on their menu and sharing the story of their sustainable seafood ingredients with their customers — and you can, too! 

Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos on

Vibrant greens for the Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos

As a member of the Blue Ribbon Task for Seafood Watch, I’ve developed a simple and tasty Southern-inspired Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Taco. And, with a nod to my next cookbook, Lighten Up, Y’all, I’m broiling the fish instead of frying it. The catfish is cut into strips and topped with a pungent combination of lime juice and Serrano peppers.

Strips of catfish, serrano peppers, and lime juice on

Strips of catfish, Serrano peppers, and lime juice

I grew up eating catfish. My grandparent’s lived about a mile from the Savannah River, one of Georgia’s longest and largest rivers and defines most of the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina.Wild catfish that live in rivers, lakes and ponds are bottom-dwellers, and the flesh picks up a distinctively earthy flavor. I don’t mind the characteristic taste. However, American farm-raised catfish are fed a diet of high-protein pellets made from soybean meal, corn, and rice that give the flesh a consistent, sweet, mild flavor.

collard green slaw on

Collard Green Slaw

The Collard Green Slaw consists of thin ribbons of collard greens, combined with chopped garlic, more Serrano peppers, and lime juice. The leaves are rolled into a cylinder and then very thinly sliced with a chef’s knife, a technique known as chiffonade. 

chiffonade of collard greens on

Catfish are environmentally sustainable, inexpensive and the meat is very versatile; pretty much any recipe calling for tilapia can be made with catfish. Make a point to buy American catfish; you just don’t know what you are getting if you buy imported fish.

This simple dish is a real winner with the zesty, spicy collard green slaw and the tender  catfish strips. Good, good for you, and good for the ocean. It doesn’t get better.

Bon AppétitY’all!



Southern Recipes: Catfish and Collard Tacos

Author virginiawillis


*For the Collard Green Slaw:*

  • 6 large collard greens leaves stems removed and sliced in chiffonade
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 serrano pepper cored, seeded, and chopped
  • clove garlic finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

*For the Fish:*

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 serrano pepper thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

*For the Tacos:*

  • 1 avocado peeled and sliced
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 six-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the collard greens in a bowl. Add the lime juice, Serrano pepper, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Using tongs, toss to combine. Set aside to marinate and soften while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Heat the oven to broil. Place fish on small rimmed baking sheet in single layer. Squeeze over the juice of 1 lime juice and top with the serrano pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Broil fish until opaque in center, about 7 minutes.
  3. Divide the fish among the tortillas. Top with the collard green slaw, avocado, scallions, cilantro leaves, and cheese. Fold in half and serve immediately.


photos by Virginia Willis

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Copyright © 2014 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

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