Words and photos by Amanda Callahan of Callywood Farms
Collars and cornbread are staples in our house, and so are tacos. These two tried-and-true standbys are delicious and versatile, but sometimes they can still feel a bit tired. Enter my recent revelation: bring these two yummy dishes together in one magical recipe. Voila! Trout tacos with collard slaw was born. Turns out, it was a great idea and a great use of local ingredients in a slightly different, perhaps unexpected way!
You can choose to skin the trout, as I did in this recipe, or leave the skin on. It really comes down to personal preference, and plenty of folks keep the skin on when frying as it lends an extra crispy layer that is also chock full of omega-3 fatty acids.
My technique for seamless skin removal: make a good slice between the meat and skin towards the top of the filet, paying careful consideration to the edges to get the maximum amount possible. Slowly separate the meat from the skin as you pull off the skin.
You also have some options on how you cook the fish — you can pan fry, oven bake or use that air fryer! Pictured and written here are the air fryer instructions, but the process is the same in the oven. Just double the cooking time if you choose the latter method. For pan frying, be sure to generously coat your pan with a healthy frying oil, such as avocado oil, and fry the fish for about four minutes on each side. Regardless of the method you choose, lightly salt the fish once it is cooked, and set aside to serve.
- 4 trout filets, bellies removed, skin removed, cut into 4 pieces each
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Aria’s Taco Seasoning (available on CAFE from Callywood Farms)
- 1 bag of baby collards
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil
- For serving: tortillas, goat cheese, salsa, guacamole, hot sauce
- Working with the collards, remove each leaf stalk from the center by cutting it out with a knife. Place de-stemmed leaves in a neatly stacked pile. Once you have 5-6 leaves stacked up, tightly roll the leaves into a roll. Slice the roll into thin ribbons to create the “slaw”.
- Put all your collard ribbons into a medium bowl. Season the collards with vinegar, 1 teaspoon oil, and salt and pepper. Massage the collard slaw with your hands to work the firm leaves a bit and massage the vinegar and salt. Set aside to allow the flavors to marinate while you work on the fish.
- Heat the oven or an air fryer to 400 degrees.
- On a plate, combine the cornmeal and taco seasoning. Mix well with a fork.
- Dredge fish pieces into cornmeal coating every crevice well. Set aside on a sheet pan (with parchment or silpat mat if baking).
- For an air fryer, set it to 400 degrees. Working in batches, lightly spray the air fryer with oil (I get an awesome coconut oil spray from Aldi) and set fish into the fryer with space between each piece. Spray the tops of the fish with additional oil. Cook at 400 for about 10-12 minutes. At about 8 minutes, I open to check and spray with a bit more oil if things are looking dry. My batches were both done in 10 minutes and I checked for doneness with a fork to see if the fish easily flaked.
- While the fish cooks, check your slaw and adjust salt and vinegar to your preference. I added a dash more vinegar after it had sat for a while.
- To serve, heat tortillas over a flame or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Top with fish, slaw and your toppings of choice. We went with guacamole, goat cheese and hot sauce!