Growing up in the midwest, I knew from local community fried fish and chicken dinners — which were some of the most fun occasions of the year when kids mostly stayed home if they weren’t in school. No video games, but lots of tag and Monkey in the Middle until the sun went down. Local churches and fire stations seemed to have been built from the ground up complete with huge vats perfect for filling with hot oil and satisfying the neighborhood’s penchant for golden-crispy protein. (My own childhood church, First Presbyterian of Homewood, was more likely to ask the men’s group to serve up spaghetti dinners, so we had to go elsewhere for our fried fixes. When it’s not Covid-Tide, they’re lately feeding folks every Monday night so maybe they even sneak in some fish these days; who knows? Stop by and see.) During Lent, the corner bars and local restaurants jumped on the fishy bandwagon and often offered “all you can eat” fish and fries — sometimes until the food ran out. The custom goes on today in the midwest and elsewhere, including Colorado. In fact, even non-believers look forward to spring when there is a fish sandwich if not an “all you can eat” nearly any place you stop for a beer.
With as much fish as we’re supposed to eat for health and six weeks of Friday Fish for Lent every year on this blog (this is now our second Covid Lent), salmon comes up pretty often on our menu. Our friend Chris likes to say, “Puh-leeze give me something else to do with salmon!” Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy serving salmon with at least two vegetables — so you’ve seen a few variations on this theme — hoping to eat less carbs or save them for some bread. I also simply want to increase our vegetable intake. Serving a smaller portion of fatty fish or red meat on a bed of vegetables or just to the side is not only a healthier way to eat (more vegetables), it makes the protein appear larger, more attractive, and puts it front and center for its closeup — an old tried and true restaurant ploy. So if it’s not really something new to do with salmon, it might just look and taste better!
Some days, nothing but tuna will do. Healthy, tasty, already-in-your-pantry canned tuna has solved many a meal dilemma at my house and probably at yours, too. Blast from the past ladies’ luncheon tricks like tuna salad stuffed tomatoes (or Hot Tuna-Stuffed Peppers)
I’m not big on giving something up for Lent, though I’m observant as a progressive protestant Christian can be. I’ve been writing FRIDAY FISH every week on the blog for five years now just as a way to think about fasting from meat and to increase our health. What’s happened is that I’ve become more of a fish and seafood cook and have gone out on a pole limb recipe-wise. Gotten out of my recipe card so to speak. Each year I’m catching something new (oh, gee), tweaking an old dish, or just looking for less-expensive or more available options –particularly for those of us who live in landlocked states like Colorado where fish is available, but not on the scale or quality it is on the coasts.
…scroll down for more info on lent or eating fish on Fridays…
As easy as it looks. Slice the tomatoes and peel the Parmesan. Then, in one pan: sauté shallots, greens, garlic, and carrot. Add wine and fish. Season. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes. 279 calorie dinner coming right up!
Truth in blogging. I somehow made this last spring, photographed it, and never blogged it–perhaps saving it for this year’s Friday Fish? Never-the-less, I had no recipe in the files and nothing doing but I would have to make it again guessing how I’d done it and hoping it all came out right. It did look fairly simple, hmmm ….So while I do that, let’s talk a little about fish. And you.
Nothing says lovin’ like something from the…top of the stove. I hope you’re skipping the long wait and perhaps not-so-great-service at the restaurants on Valentine’s Day. Go to your favorite spot some other time and give your best servers a break… Instead, stay home and fix this luscious meal for you and your happiest partner, you and a friend, or just for yourself.
It’s a cool thing to be married to a guywho says, “You don’t feel well. Tell me how to cook this new dish you’re thinking about and I’ll make dinner for us.” So there I sat and told him what to do. Thanks, God.
If you’re from New England, I’m sure I just screwed the pooch with this chowder. But I’m from Chicago and chowder is a great meal I’ve mostly had in restaurants and on New England and Canadian cruises.
A little fresh red bell pepper provides a different garnish here.
Each year as a cook and food blogger, I take advantage of the fact that I’m a faithful person observing Lent who needs to get a little more fish in her life. (I am a progressive Christian– a lifelong Presbyterian worshiping with the United Church of Christ.) Continue reading →