Swai is a white fish from Southeast Asia that's finding new popularity in the U.S. as issues of sustainability in fishing become more mainstream. It has a texture similar to catfish and, like many white fish, has a mild flavor that lends itself well to a vast array of seasonings and preparations. Grilling the fillets is a quick and easy way to prepare a flavorful meal, no matter how you choose to season, sauce, glaze or top the fish. Opt for fillets with the skin on to make grilling easier.
Things You'll Need
- Grill scraper
- Cooking oil or spray
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Wide spatula
Clean your grill well with a grill scraping tool to remove residue and char that would impart a strong, unpleasant taste in a delicate white fish. Grease the rack with cooking oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Season the swai to taste. It supports basically any white fish recipe you can find, no matter how simple or elaborate. You can get away with just a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and pepper if you like, or you can go spicy with Cajun blackening seasonings; add a mix of your favorite herbs and spices, such as garlic powder, tarragon, thyme and parsley; flavor with some lime juice, lime zest and dill; prepare a garlic rosemary white wine sauce; top the fish with stewed tomatoes and capers; soak it for a few minutes in soy sauce; or pick something entirely different.
Place the swai fillet over direct heat on the grill, skin side up. This lets you sear attractive grill marks into the flesh, and, because it's not yet fully cooked, there's less risk of the fish flaking apart when you flip it. Grill for about three minutes, until the grill marks are pronounced on the fish.
Turn the swai carefully with a wide spatula, supporting the whole fillet to prevent it from falling apart. Continue grilling for a few more minutes until the flesh is opaque through to the center at the thickest part and flakes apart easily. Remove the fish with the spatula, again taking care to support the whole piece. Add any sauce or other finishing touches called for in your recipe and serve.
Tips & Warnings
- Defrost swai fillets before grilling by keeping them in the fridge overnight. If you need a faster thaw and the fish is sealed in airtight packaging, immerse the package in cold water for about an hour, changing the water out for new, colder water halfway through.
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