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ALL THE OBSERVANT CATHOLICS IN THE HOUSE, WHO FOLLOW THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR AND THEREFORE ARE AVOIDING MEAT IN OBSERVANCE OF LENT OR JUST BECAUSE IT’S A FRIDAY AND THAT’S WHAT CATHOLICS SOMETIMES DO, SAY “HO-O!”

This is a post about fish. First, let me say that I don’t limit my diet in any way for any reason: allergic, religious or otherwise. In fact, just about my only religious conviction about food is that it taste good. There’s just too many things in the world that provide too much tasty joy for me to willingly block myself of it. In all honesty, if a Hot Pocket didn’t taste like a desiccated turd covered in fake cheese, this may well be a posting about Hot Pockets. Granted one doesn’t have to be an unscrupled carnivore and therefore local, organic and sustainable are among gospel that I preach pretty regularly and dogmatically, along with other general tips about not being a dumb sonofabitch and avoiding fast food bacon (see the sentence about desiccated turds and fake cheese).

The fact is, fish is delicious. I don’t cook fish often, mostly because sea creatures fall on my wife’s list of “just doesn’t appeal to me” somewhere between pure cured pork fat and eating things foraged from the backyard. Here are three recipes for the Lent observing friends of Jesus out there, or friends of the sea, or friends of the grill, or really just those who might enjoy devouring a critter from the briny depths from time to time.

Grilled swordfish agrodulce
Wood fired grill
Swordfish steak
Fennel, tomato agrodulce from the A16 cookbook.

Start a wood fire. Season, oil and grill the swordfish to medium, rest it a moment, and top it with the sweet delicious love that is A16’s fennel tomato agrodulce. Sorry, I won’t reprint it. They deserve the cash for that beautiful book they made and the even more beautiful flavors within it. All I can say is that, among other things, it has red onion, fennel, tomato and pure love. That stuff alone is worth the cover price, not to mention the photos. The only thing I can say is to buy best possible quality game fish, enjoy the spoils of a real wood fire, and treat your ingredients with the proper respect they deserve.

Grilled green vegetables
Wood fired grill
Asparagus
Broccoli
Green onions
Zucchini

Heat up your grill, toss your veg in olive oil and grill in steps: broccoli first, then zucchini, then asparagus and then the onions. Once all veg is done season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and red pepper flake. The flavors of the good produce and smokey heat are all you really need to get this right.

Guajillo marinated shrimp with fresh mint and hot chili flakes
Largish shrimp, in the range of 15 count, in the shell
3 guajillo chiles
3 garlic cloves
white wine
fresh mint
lemon zest
olive oil
red pepper flake
salt and pepper

Several hours before you’re going to eat, tear the guajillos into pieces, toss in a pan with a small amount of water and bring to a boil, covered. Let the chilies steep for about 20 minutes. In the meantime clean and devein the shrimp, leaving the shell as intact as possible (it’s even better if you can get them with the head still on). Puree the peppers, steeping liquid, white wine, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, cool the mixture and toss with the shrimp. Leave to marinate for several hours in the fridge. Chop your mint, mix with lemon zest, hot chilies and a little salt and pepper, cover with a good amount of olive oil. Prepare your grill. Grill the shrimp until just cooked through. Toss with the mint mixture and serve with extra napkins.

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