Fish Friday

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I don’t know about anyone else— at least this time of year, come Lent I know it’ll be a group obsession — but I’m constantly on the look-out for something to make that doesn’t involve carne.

Beyond the staples of fried cheese sandwiches (Thank you, George Foreman), the treat of deep-fried calamari, and various canned soups, my childhood only offers one option:

Clam chowder.

Take a big soup pot, put a glob of bacon fat in the bottom and heat it up to frying temp.

Chop a small potato per person into cubes and fry in the fat until tender or slightly translucent.

Pepper and garlic salt to taste, if you wish.

Turn down to simmering temp.

Add a can of chopped clams and add milk until the potatoes are covered, then about a quarter inch more.

Simmer until thickened and serve. (Has the big advantage of being something that doesn’t have a point where it’s ready and MUST be served right now—it can set on the stove for an hour, just fine.)

You can add some onion when you’re frying the potatoes, or add dried onion when you add milk, and probably add some other things to taste, it’s kind of like jazz.

As good as this is, my husband got tired of it pretty early, so I had to branch out; unfortunately, our budget was extremely limited at the time. Grandma to the rescue—she raised a whole flock of boys, mostly on casseroles or one-pan bakes. (To the point that we never had them when I was growing up, unless we ate at her place—my dad can’t stand them!) The format of a cup or two of carbs like leftover rice or pasta, a can or two of tuna, a cup or so of cheese and enough ranch dressing to make it stick together is very simple while leaving room for adjustment.

Substituting mushrooms or eggs for meat can also help with existing recipes.

Anyone have some favorites?  Should we make this a reoccurring TAC subject?

cross posted

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  1. What a totally cool site – recipes for living, recipes for eating 🙂

    well done Foxfier.

    But I’ve no problems with fish returning on Friday. My older son has just purchased a 25 ft. power boat, and has told me that he’ll be going fishing at least once a week over the summer, and he wants me along – yum yum all that beautiful fresh fish.

    Only one little snag – a 50,000 ton container ship just last week ran itself up on a reef about 7 mile offshore, and its been spilling oil all over our beautiful beaches, and a couple of outlying islands that are havens for fishermen, (and women 😉 ) divers and spearfisherman, especially during the summer months. The newsmedia, as usual have gone into “extreme exageration” mode, and it is now “the worst marine and ecological disaster in NZ’s history.”

    What a crock. I looked at the beaches yesterday, and all the oil is cleared away by teams after each high tide. The winds have gone Westerly, so any remaining oil is being blown out to sea, where it will dissipate and be tidied up by marine bacteria. The damaged wildlfe birds, seals etc. – though sadly some have died – in 6 months nature will replenish all. Our fishing will now take place to the North of our harbour, rather than on Astrolabe Reef where the ship ‘Rena’ is – slowing breaking up with the pounding NE swell, and losing 20 – 30 containers overboard each day.

    So how are you guys reacting to this post? Bet you never thought you’d get a comment like this, Foxie 🙂

  2. Try the world’s easiest beans and rice, courtesy of Lent and Easter in the Christian Kitchen by Laurie Gill/Teresa Zepeda.
    In a 13×9 glass casserole dump the following: 3 cans beans (black, kidney, pinto, mix+match), 1 can or bag of corn, 1 1/2 cups UNCOOKED rice, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp oregano, and 4 cups liquid that the recipe says should be half V-8 juice and half picante sauce. But I have used regular tomato juice and salsa. You might even substitute water for some of this if you want things less spicy. Stir it around, cover tight with foil, and bake at 374 for an hour. Remove foil and cover with shredded cheese. Serve after cheese melts.

  3. *laughs* Indeed, Don!

    Congratulations on the new source of fish, and I’m glad the problem isn’t nearly as bad as they say!

    Daria– ooh, that sounds rather good, and it could be used as burrito filling.

  4. I usually feel guilty on Fridays because they’re my best eating days. My local lunchtime restaurant has salmon, vegetable lo mein, tilapia, stir-fry vegetables, and a decent salad bar with tuna salad.

  5. Saute about 6 cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes in olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add 10 cups of spinach and saute until wilted. Add a pound of cooked penne and a half pound shredded smoked gouda cheese. Take off heat and stir until mixed well. Thin with some of the pasta water if too thick. Serves 8 and is awesome.

  6. Sushi and miso soup
    McDonald’s 2 for $3 Fillet-o-Fish
    Fish and chips
    Subway’s veggie sub
    Fish tacos
    Tuna fish sandwich
    Egg salad sandwich
    Pretty much any rice dish can be made meatless. E.g., fried rice, paella, curry rice, bibimbap, omurice.
    Pretty much any pasta dish can be made meatless. E.g., baked ziti, ramen, pad thai.
    Lots of soups and stews can be made meatless. E.g., bouillabaisse, minestrone.

    Looking at that list, it doesn’t look that hard to go meatless everyday.

  7. “Bake until Bubbly” by Clifford A. Wright has the best ever tuna casserole recipe(in the noodle chapter, I think) and also a whole seafood section. Everything is from scratch. A little extra work, but well worth it.
    Also pizza (like RR mentioned) is a great meatless dish. We have a Friday tradition of eating pizza for dinner while we watch an action/adventure TV show.
    Go to your library and look for magazine’s with recipes or for vegetarian cookbooks. You can land some really great ones that way.

  8. My seven year old calls Lent “fried fish season.”

    The problem with Lent in our house is that my wife is allergic to shellfish and hates all other fish. Only during Lent does she relent… Which means Lent is, for me, my son, and my eldest daughter, a blessed season because it is “fried fish season.”

    I suspect that I could convert my wife to fish if I could make a dish with olive oil, garlic, and pasta (three of her favorite things) if it was sufficiently mild that she’d eat it without immediately knowing it is fish.

    Got a dish for that?

  9. Deep fry fish sticks in olive oil, slice into creamy garlic sauce and serve on pasta? Maybe some broccoli in the sauce as well. I can’t think of any other way to keep the fish intact!

    If you don’t mind the fish breaking apart, maybe cod fried in olive oil and flaked into a garlic sauce?

  10. I bake homemade mac & cheese. It is really good and the kids love it.
    Also, I make a spinach lasagne that is really good with parmesan. If you want me to post recipes, I will, if interested.

  11. Asian fishcake doesn’t even taste like fish. It makes a good stir fry. It might work as a substitute for meatballs in pasta.
    Imitation crab meat is made from fish. It can be used in salads or maki rolls. It breaks apart very easily so you can’t really do any cooking with it.

  12. My wife makes an excellent mac & cheese but I’m interested in the spinach lasagne if your of a mind to post it.

  13. My son and I had the fish sticks and pasta with creamy garlic and parmesan sauce for dinner. It was delicious! I’d give it four of five stars. I don’t think it will work for easing my wife over to fish though. The taste and smell are unmistakably fish. I’ll definately add it to the lenten menu though.

  14. If you visit a website called “Monastery Greetings” (just Google it) you can find a number of meat-free and very good cookbooks, whose purchase will support a monastery somewhere in the US – along with lots of other goodies, totally inappropriate for Lent, but hey – Christmas is coming, too.

  15. Thanks. Quick question about the “inappropriate for Lent” issue, is it true that we can set aside our sacrifices on Sunday?

  16. G-Veg, yes. Sunday is a day of celebration so the 40 days of Lent exclude Sundays (Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday is 46 days if you include Sundays).

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