It is Lent, so bring on the fish. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve adapted to suit my taste.
It is Lent, so bring on the fish.
The Catholic tradition is to abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent.
If you are lucky enough to live by a parish that holds the always-popular fish-fry Friday, take advantage of it. They are most often a great meal for a reasonable price, and it provides a deserved night off from cooking.
I am not a fan of fishy-tasting fish. My favorites are lake perch, bluegill and smelt. All of these fish are mildly sweet-tasting and can be easily breaded and fried or baked in the oven.
When I prepare fresh panfish, I like to soak the fillets in milk for a half hour before frying. The milk draws out a lot of the fishy taste. While the fillets are soaking, I put together a handful of bread crumbs, corn meal, salt, pepper, garlic powder and sometimes a few odd spices in a plastic re-sealable bag. Once I added some ground ginger and dry mustard, which really made a tasty batter. My breading never comes out the same way twice.
If you soak your fillets, dry them on paper towel, place them in a re-sealable plastic bag, give them a shake, remove and pop them into the hot oil. Fry until golden, drain on paper towels.
While in England, I had authentic fish and chips. The lightly battered cod was deep fried and served with perfectly salted pieces of deep-fried potato, wrapped in newspaper to absorb the grease. That was good fish.
Here are a couple of recipes I’ve adapted to suit my taste.
BUTTER CRUMB FISH FILLETS
1 1/2 pounds fresh fish fillets (cod, haddock, tilapia, flounder, salmon, whitefish, red snapper, etc.)
1 cup breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 stick butter, melted
Wash and pat dry fillets. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. In small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add melted butter and stir until absorbed evenly. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture onto fillets, using all the mixture evenly over each filet. Bake at 350 degrees until fish flakes with fork, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of filets.
CLASSIC BATTER FOR FISH
Corn or peanut oil
1 pound cod or other lean fish fillet (haddock, flounder, etc.)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup water
In deep fryer or cast iron skillet, put enough oil that fish can float without touching bottom (approximately 3 inches in skillet). Cut fish fillets into 2-by-1 1/2-inch pieces. Pat dry with paper towels – an important step so the batter sticks to the fish.
Mix together flour and salt. Whisk together baking soda and vinegar. Stir vinegar mixture and water into flour mixture; whisk until smooth. Dip fish into batter, allowing excess batter to drip off. Fry four or five fish pieces at a time – do not use deep fryer basket – about 3 minutes, turning fish once, until brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with malt vinegar.
-- Adapted from recipezaar.com
ITALIAN STYLE BAKED FISH
1 1/2 pounds fish filet (whitefish, cod, lake trout, red snapper, etc.)
1 small carrot cut into thin coins
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Place fish fillets on a piece of aluminum foil that is longer than the fish and sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle filet with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Place several carrot coins on the fish. Place several tomato pieces on each filet, but do not cover fish with tomatoes. Snip off the leaves of the parsley stem and place the leaves evenly over fish.
Drizzle with olive oil and wrap fish loosely in the foil. Bake on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of filets. Remove and test for flakiness. If fish flakes, it’s done. Serve with lemon wedges.