I don't think of myself as a big meat eater, but when Lent sneaks up on me (and it always does) all of a sudden I feel like I devour Tyronno-steaks by the dozen. I know that during the year I happily serve entrees based on fish, shellfish, soy, and legumes, but add that meatless Friday element and it all goes kerblooey.
This is why diets don't work, for me, at least. I'm a healthy eater, but if I concentrate on what I eat, all of a sudden I want to buy Italian pastries and Twinkies.
I have some go-to recipes during Lent, the kind that I can type out without looking at a recipe card. Here's what I'm serving tonight, and it just happens to be my husband's favorite fish dish:
Preheat oven to 400.
Take six medium sized catfish fillets. Make certain they are cleaned of skin and bones. Pat dry with paper towel.
Prepare two shallow pans with:
Number one pan - Coarse cornmeal mixed with 1/2 tsp salt, dash white pepper, dash cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy,) and the zest of one lemon
Number two pan - half cup skim milk mixed with juice of that fresh lemon you just zested. You can add a little hot sauce to this mix if you really like the heat!*
Now drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a large baking dish.
Take each fillet and dip it first in the skim milk mixture (which by now should have curdled and thickened a bit with the lemon juice) and then in the seasoned cornmeal.
Lay each fillet in the oiled baking dish. When they are all coated, drizzle tops with a bit more olive oil.
Bake for at 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and the heat index of your oven. Fish should be white all the way through when you test, with no clear or pink spots.
At the very end, I like to run a creme brulee torch over the top to really crisp up the fillets. If you don't have one of those babies, you can broil for 3-5 minutes to get the same nice, browned effect.
Sprinkle the top with a little chopped fresh parsley.
These are delicious served with a green salad and a side of basmati rice. A glass of wine wouldn't go amiss, either.
*I just have to add this Frank's Red Hot commercial our friends clued us into: