“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”
— Charles M. Schulz
And as Charlie Brown might say, “Good grief, is it Lent already?”
For many of us, Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday. It lasts 40 days until Easter Sunday. It is a time for confession, repentance and recovery, and for forgiveness, fasting and fish. Many years and many fish dinners later, I am still angling for good fish recipes.
By accident, while thinking about Lent, fish and Peanuts, I stumbled upon the following from a Franciscan Friar, Fr. Washburn, who had a peanut story worth repeating.
One Saturday afternoon, a group of boys went to confession. This, in itself, was unusual, but more unusual was what the boys confessed. One by one, each of them ended their confession the same way, “I threw peanuts in the river.” The priest thought, if that is a sin, it really is a strange one. The last to come in was the smallest boy of the group. The priest, of course, expected to hear the same sin he heard from the others, but the boy didn’t mention it. So the priest asked, “Is that all? Did you forget something? Did you throw peanuts in the river?” The boy looked shocked and replied, “Father, I am Peanuts! They threw me in the river!”
This was not a fish tale. But it brings to mind a fish recipe with peanuts that is good for Friday or any day, even if you’re not fasting and abstaining.
1½ lbs. Cod fish fillets
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
1/8 cup ground peanuts
(Canola) Oil spray
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Line pan with aluminum foil and spray foil with canola oil.
- Arrange fillets flat in pan and spray with oil.
- Squeeze lemon juice over fillets.
- Sprinkle parsley, panko crumbs, peanuts, salt and pepper over fillets.
- Dot tiny pieces of butter on each fillet. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
Churchgoers during Lent will hear a story that ends with many extra loaves and fishes. Much like extra loaves and fishes, leftover mashed potatoes, too, can be abundant. Imagine what might have been said about them: “And so Peter asked the Lord, ‘What should we do with the leftover mashed potatoes?’ And the Lord directed, ‘Use them to make the Fish Pie.’”
3-4 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus 3 Tbsp. for topping
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
2-2½ cups fishy mix (shrimp, clams and also some cod, haddock, flounder or salmon - any fish you like) cut in pieces. I usually use shrimp, clams (including the clam juice) and a piece of fish cut into mall pieces.
1/2 cup milk or a little more to just cover fish mix
1/4 cup parsley, chopped (save 1 Tbsp. for topping)
1 Tbsp. dill
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix mashed potatoes with egg and ¼ cup cheese and set aside.
- Put your fish mixture in a small pot, including the liquid from clams, adding enough milk to just cover the mix. Bring to a boil and simmer 2-3 minutes. Set aside
- In a 2-quart ovenproof dish, which can also be used on range top (Corning), melt 2 Tbsp. butter, and sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
- Add the flour, cook and stir for 1 additional minute.
- Strain liquid from fish mix into the butter-onion-garlic-flour dish and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.
- Reduce the heat, add the fish mix, and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon mashed potatoes on top of fish mix.
- Sprinkle with remaining 3 Tbsp. cheese, paprika and parsley.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Perfect when served with peas.
Eat Well, Live Long, Enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053.)