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Asparagus Stuffed Swai

Posted Feb 13 2012 12:00am

We recently tried swai fish for the first time after my local grocer started carrying it. The fillets were frozen, which didn't thrill me as I prefer to buy my fish fresh, but at under $5.00 a pound I couldn't help myself from picking some up to try.

Upon thawing I was pleased with I found. The fillets were firm and had no fishy odor. They looked clean and were of a very nice size and thickness. So far, so good. The evening I decided to make them for dinner, I had a lovely bunch of fresh asparagus in the fridge that needed using. I could steam the veg and serve it as a side dish, I pondered... or I could wrap the fillets around a bundle of the asparagus to make a pretty presentation.

Unfortunately, the looks and price of the fillets were where my love of swai ended. Oh, the recipe I came up with worked just fine. I tried this same preparation on some flounder fillets a few days later and everyone raved. It was delicious! Now, before anyone who has tried and enjoyed swai gets upset... I can't say it was a BAD fish. It wasn't distasteful or anything... we just found that it had very little flavor. It was bland and kind of... boring. Maybe if it had been fresh, instead of frozen it would be better... but to be honest, I've yet to find fresh swai. I believe swai is imported, so chances are that's why.

The benefit of this fish (in my humble opinion) is in it's price and perhaps the fact that it was so mild would be a plus for getting a child (or adult) who is leery of fish to try it. Certainly it's not difficult to cover the flavor of it. My family enjoys fish very much and we like the flavor so the swai just wasn't a big hit.

Have you tried swai? How did you prepare it? Did you enjoy it?

Asparagus Stuffed Swai (or flounder!)

1 Pound Fresh Asparagus
6- 6 ounce Swai Fillets (or flounder)
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
2 Tablesppons, shallot
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 anchovy fillets
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of white wine
A glug of olive oil

1: Preheat over to 450* F

2: Wash and trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Peel the spears with a vegetable peeler to just below the tender tips.

3: Use your preferred method to steam the asparagus 2-3 minutes until barely tender. Do not over steam or your asparagus will be mushy after baking. Rinse under cold water to halt the cooking process and set aside.

4: In a mortar and pestle combine 2 Tablespoons of the lemon thyme leaves and all of the shallot, garlic, cayenne pepper and the anchovy fillets. Muddle with the lemon juice until everything is mashed together well. Set aside.

5: Prepare a 9 X 13 baking dish by covering the bottom with a couple good glugs of olive oil and a good splash of white wine to help keep things moist.

6: Lay out your fish fillets on a cutting board and season to taste with salt, pepper and the remaining thyme leaves. Take 5-6 asparagus spears and lay them across the fillet and roll up to create a "package". The ends and tips of the asparagus will be exposed.

7: Place each package, seam side down, in the baking dish.

8: Spread the mixture you made in step #4 evenly over each each package.

9: Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in the center of the over for about 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 6

Kitchen Notes:
* The next time I made this I used flounder, as I mentioned, and we enjoyed it much more. Any mild fish could be used.

* We liked this recipe on it's own but the addition of a simple sauce was also nice another time I made this. I used this white wine and butter sauce recipe and it was divine with the flounder and asparagus... the lemon thyme was a perfect pairing for it.

*If you can't find lemon thyme... regular thyme would work just fine.

*Don't have a mortar and pestle? No worries... just chop everything well and then mash together in a small bowl using a fork. You don't need to smash the ingredients into oblivion, you just want them to marry and become easy to spread.
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