It's the Lent, and you know what that means: fish. Or seafood, or really, a meatless meal would do, too. We've gathered some of our favorite recipes from the sea to help you stay holy this Lenten season, and also because, well, they are delicious.
RECIPE: Fried Catfish
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
1 cup milk
1 pound catfish fillets
Vegetable oil for frying
1½ cups panko bread crumbs or cornmeal
2 tablespoons pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1. Pour the milk into a bowl and let the catfish soak in it while you heat about 1½ inches of oil in a large pan to about 375 degrees. Mix the panko or cornmeal in a plastic bag with the peppers and salt.
2. Drain the fillets; then shake them in the panko in the bag. Shake off any excess coating and fry them until golden brown on both sides, a total of about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
2 pounds salmon fillets, cut into 6 equal-size pieces
6 tablespoons chopped shallots
6 tablespoons dry white wine
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2. Spread a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper on a flat surface. Invert a 12-inch round cake pan on the foil and trace around the pan with a sharp knife to make a 12-inch circle. Repeat this until you have 6 circles.
3. Cut the carrots crosswise into 1-inch lengths. Cut each piece lengthwise into matchstick strips.
4. Cut off and discard the stem of each mushroom and cut the cap into thin slices.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and lemon juice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the carrots, scallions and salt; then cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle the dill on top and stir well. Cover and set aside.
6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Place the foil rounds on a flat surface and brush them with the melted butter. Spoon equal portions of the carrot mixture on each circle slightly below the center, leaving a margin large enough to fold over.
7. Lay a slice of salmon over each mound of vegetables. Sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of shallots, a tablespoon of wine and salt and pepper.
8. Fold the foil to completely enclose the contents, while leaving some room for expansion. Crimp the seal as tightly as possible. Arrange the packages on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
12 ounces shrimp, shelled but with the tail left on if possible
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon minced fresh ginger, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oil (not olive)
½ cup cubed red bell peppers
½ bunch watercress with bottom 1 inch of the stems cut off, optional
Hot cooked rice or Asian noodles
1. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the garlic, pepper and sherry. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain shrimp, retaining the marinade.
2. Mix the water with the cornstarch and the reserved marinade, and stir well to dissolve the cornstarch. In a small saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the shrimp, the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic and remaining ¾ teaspoon of ginger. Stir fry over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the sweet red peppers and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and immediately add the watercress, if using. Serve at once over rice or Asian noodles.
Per serving (using 2 cups total cooked white rice): 297 calories; 8g fat; 1g saturated fat; 137mg cholesterol; 24g protein; 32g carbohydrate; 3g sugar; no fiber; 481mg sodium; 65mg calcium
Recipe from “The Frog-Commissary Cookbook” by Steven Poses, Anne Clark and Becky Roller
1 cup chopped scallions, white parts only, or sweet onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and coarsely chop them. Slice the caps and set aside.
2. Place the mushroom stems and the cream in a small, nonreactive saucepan. Bring the cream to a boil and gently boil for at least 10 minutes or until the cream is reduced by half. Pour in the wine and boil for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Set the mixture aside. This sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until cooked through but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the brand.
4. Meanwhile, put enough oil in a very hot pan to film it lightly. Add the scallops and sear lightly on both sides (they will continue to cook as the recipe continues); their surface should be a light, nutty brown. Add the mushroom caps, scallions and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until the mushrooms are barely cooked through. Stir in the reserved mushroom sauce and reheat gently.
5. Drain the pasta thoroughly and mix with the scallop mixture. Sprinkle with the parsley. Season liberally with salt and pepper to taste.
8 to 12 tablespoons chipotle aioli, store bought or homemade
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 ½ cups pico de gallo, store bought or homemade
Notes: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, place 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Fill with milk to the 1 ½ cup line and let stand for five minutes.
• Don’t use baked tortilla chips for this dish; the oiliness of thicker chips sticks better to the fish.
• The Royale uses oil that is a combination of 75% vegetable oil and 25% extra virgin olive oil to pan fry the fillets.
• For the final finish on the fillets, the Royale bakes them directly on the oven rack. You may place a baking sheet under the rack to catch loose crumbs. Alternately, use a rimmed cookie sheet with a cooling rack set on top for the bake. For the test, we used the rimmed cookie sheet.
• The Royale uses flour tortillas for their tacos but you can substitute corn if desired.
1. An hour or two before cooking, cut the fillets in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half width wise. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
2. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl and add the fillets. Cover and return to the refrigerator.
3. To make the tortilla chip breading, pulse the tortilla chips in a food processor to crumbs. Add cumin, salt and pepper to the mix and stir to blend. Place 1 ½ cups in a shallow dish big enough to hold a fillet.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove catfish fillets from the refrigerator. Shake off excess buttermilk and dredge the fillets through the breading on both sides. Add more breading as needed.
6. Preheat an 8-inch stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Mix the olive oil into the vegetable oil and add to the pan. Heat the oil until it begins to shimmer and a drop of water skitters on the surface. Add the fillets and pan fry until the coating turns light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. If the breading does not adhere to the fillets, put the pan-fried fillets back in the dish with the breading and pat in place on both sides.
7. Place finished fillets on a rimmed baking sheet set with a rack and put in the oven to crisp up for about 5 to 7 minutes.
8. Spray a nonstick skillet lightly with cooking spray and add the tortillas to soften.
9. Place a tortilla on the plate and run a line of chipotle mayonnaise down the center. Top with shredded cabbage. Add a catfish fillet and top with 3 tablespoons pico de gallo.
RECIPE: Low-Sodium Salmon With Cucumber Dill Sauce
Yield: 2 servings
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice and peel of 1 lemon, plus 2 wedges of lemon
¼ cucumber, diced small
½ teaspoon dill
2 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
¾ large onion, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1. An hour before cooking, combine yogurt, juice of 2 lemon wedges, cucumber and dill in a small bowl. Refrigerate until use.
2. Rub fingers over top of salmon fillets to detect pin bones, if any. Remove with tweezers.
3. Fill large skillet with water to a depth of around 1 inch. Add onion, celery, carrot and the juice and peel of 1 lemon. Bring to a simmer. Move aside some of the vegetables and lemon, and gently add the salmon; the liquid should completely cover it. If it doesn’t, add more water. Cook at a simmer until fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily, 5 minutes per inch of height.
4. Drain and serve with the cucumber dill sauce. Taste and season with a small amount of salt, if necessary.
Note: If you cannot find chickpea flour (it is sold with the alternative flours in some larger stores), you can substitute 1 1/3 cups of semolina flour in place of both flours.
1. In a large bowl, mix both flours with the salt. Whisk in the cold water to make a batter. Stir in the shrimp, green onions and parsley.
2. Heat oil in a medium-sized pan to 350 degrees. Use a small ladle to pour some of the batter into the oil. Fry on both sides until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-covered plate.
Per serving (based on 10): 171 calories; 11g fat; 9g saturated fat; 37mg cholesterol; 7g protein; 12g carbohydrate; no sugar; 1g fiber; 729mg sodium; 22mg calcium
2. To make the sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes; do not let the mixture color. Stir in the watercress and spinach until wilted. Add the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Return to the pan and add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
3. In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup of the flour with a generous sprinkle of salt and white pepper. Very lightly dredge the top side of the salmon fillets in the flour.
4. Lightly coat a large ovenproof sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the salmon, top-side down, and sear for 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the salmon for exactly 8 minutes; it should still be translucent in the center of the thickest part.
5. Just before the salmon is done, reheat the sauce over low heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the salmon to warmed plates. Spoon ¼ of the sauce onto each plate and place a fillet on top, or spoon the sauce over the center of each fillet, allowing the ends to show and the sauce to pool on the plate. Garnish each fillet with a watercress sprig and serve immediately.
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat blade of a knife
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon cumin, preferably freshly ground, or more to taste
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika, or more to taste
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (preferably) or white wine vinegar
6 to 8 small salmon steaks, about 6 ounces each, or swordfish, halibut, haddock, catfish or perch
1. Chop the cilantro and parsley leaves together to a very fine mince. You should have 1 cup of minced leaves. Transfer to a saucepan.
2. Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar, or using the back of a spoon in a small bowl, to make a paste. Stir in the cumin, dried pepper, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice. Add to the saucepan with the herbs and mix well.
3. Have the fish steaks ready in a baking dish large enough to hold them all in 1 layer. Meanwhile, set the herb mixture over medium heat and warm until is very hot, but not boiling. Taste and adjust the seasoning. When it is the way you want it, pour the warm marinade over the fish steaks. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the fish with their marinade to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fish is done, basting every 5 minutes or so with the marinade. Serve immediately, spooning a little of the marinade over each serving.
1 whole (2-pound) sea bass, striped bass or red snapper, cleaned and scaled, gills removed (I used branzino, which is a relative of striped bass)
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine the mayonnaise, chipotle chile and garlic in a small bowl. With a pastry brush or icing spatula, spread the mixture all over the fish, inside and outside. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place on a baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just barely opaque at the thickest part of the fish.
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely slivered
2 large bunches green onions (white plus 3 inches of green part only), cut into 1½-by-¼-inch strips
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
For the swordfish
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
4 swordfish fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, 1-inch thick
2 to 4 tablespoons peanut oil
¼ cup soy sauce
1. For the green onions: Stir the sesame seeds in a heavy, small, dry skillet over medium heat until brown. Transfer to a small bowl. Heat the oils in the same skillet with the ginger over medium-high heat. Add the green onion strips and stir-fry until almost tender, about 1 minute. Add the water and soy sauce and stir-fry until tender but still crunchy, about 1 minute. (This can be prepared ahead, cooled, covered and set aside at cool room temperature.)
2. For the swordfish: Use the ventilation fan to keep your kitchen from becoming smoky. Mix the sugar and pepper in a large soup plate. Dip one side of the swordfish in the mixture. Transfer to a large tray. Immediately, place 1 very large or 2 smaller heavy nonstick skillets over medium-high heat and add the 2 to 4 tablespoons oil. Add the swordfish and cook until the bottom is browned and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Pour the ¼ cup soy sauce into the skillet. Cover the skillet and continue cooking until the fish is glazed and just opaque throughout, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. To serve, rewarm the green onions by stirring over medium-high heat. Transfer the swordfish to 4 plates. Spoon the onions over the swordfish. Sprinkle each with reserved toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
1 stalk lemongrass (lower 6 inches only), outer leaves discarded and root end trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons curry powder
1½ pounds live mussels, debearded
1 tablespoon scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper as needed
1. In a large kettle, bring wine and cream to a boil with garlic, shallot, lemongrass and curry powder. Add mussels and cook, covered, over moderately high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, or until opened. Using a slotted spoon, remove mussels and discard any unopened mussels along with lemongrass.
2. Add scallions and butter to remaining liquid in kettle, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until butter is incorporated.
3. Divide mussels among 4 serving bowls. Spoon the curry sauce over the mussels.
2. Fill each fish cavity with 1 tablespoon cold butter. Press the cavity sides together. Place the fish in a small, nonreactive baking dish and cover with the vinegar. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
3. Place the trout on a serving plate. Swirl the remaining tablespoon cold butter in the pan juices to form a sauce, and pour over the trout. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
½ pound shrimp with the shells on, thawed if frozen
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 large red potato, cut in ½-inch dice
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup bay scallops or langostinos, thawed if frozen
8 clams, thawed if frozen
1. Peel the shrimp and place shells in a large pot along with the chicken stock. Heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock; discard the shells. Meanwhile, chop the shrimp into small pieces and set aside.
2. In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Return the reserved stock to the pot and add the potato, carrots, celery, bay leaf, wine and tomatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and a knife or fork easily pierces the cubes of potato. Add the chopped shrimp, scallops or langostinos, and clams. Cook until the shrimp are pink, the scallops are hot all the way through and the clam shells have opened, about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the garlic, if you can find it, before serving.
1½ cups strained tomatoes (such as Pomi) or puréed tomatoes
6 ounces spaghetti, cooked al dente
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season one side of the scallops with salt and pepper, and sear, seasoned-side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and sear other side for 1 minute. Remove to a plate with tongs or a slotted spoon.
2. Add wine to the hot skillet and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook for 1 minute, then add shallot, garlic and Swiss chard; sauté 3 to 4 minutes until the shallots are soft, the chard has wilted and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in strained tomatoes and cook 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce is the consistency you like.
3. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Return scallops to the pan just long enough to reheat them. Serve over spaghetti, with Parmesan cheese if desired.
1. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Season one side with salt and pepper.
2. Place a skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add oil and butter, and heat until butter starts to foam. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add scallops, seasoned-side down. Do not touch for 2 minutes; bottoms should have a nice brown sear. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute (or up to 1½ minutes if they are extra large). Drizzle lemon juice over the top and immediately remove to a platter.
4. Add water to hot pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Cook briefly until the liquid is the consistency of syrup, and pour over scallops. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve by themselves, with rice or pasta, or as part of a salad.
Per serving: 83 calories; 6g fat; 2g saturated fat; 17mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 2g carbohydrate; no sugar; no fiber; 152mg sodium; 6mg calcium
3½ ounces (¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons) dry white wine
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
1/3 cup finely cut chives
Note: This recipe requires 4 (½-cup) ramekins or soufflé molds
1. Preheat oven to 285 degrees. Spray ramekins heavily with nonstick spray or coat insides well with butter. Bring a kettle of water to boil.
2. Place scallops in a food processor and process to form a purée. Add eggs and process to combine. Transfer to a bowl and mix in 3½ ounces (¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons) of the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into prepared molds, then place in a baking dish. Add enough boiling water to the baking dish to come 1 inch up the side of the molds. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until set and cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces.
4. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp shells for 3 minutes. Add shallot and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato purée and the wine. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature and simmer 5 minutes.
5. Add the remaining 3½ ounces (¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons) cream to the pan and stir to combine. Cook 3 more minutes. Strain this sauce into a bowl, discarding the solids, and return to the pan.
6. Reduce heat to medium, add the shrimp meat and cook gently until the shrimp is pink and cooked through, 2 to 3 more minutes. Season with salt, black pepper and optional cayenne pepper.
7. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the rim of each mold and carefully invert the scallop mousse onto serving plates (the mousse will be very delicate). Spoon a little shrimp sauce over each and garnish with pieces of shrimp. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
RECIPE: Seared Scallops With Asparagus and Lemon Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 ½ pounds bay scallops (about 12)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped shallots
½ pound large asparagus spears, trimmed and cut on the diagonal, fresh or frozen
¼ cup white wine
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
1. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts.
2. Pat scallops really dry; then sprinkle with pepper and salt. (Be warned, it’s hard to get a sear unless the scallops are dry.) Add scallops to pan and “flash cook” for a little less than a minute on each side.
3. Add shallots to pan and saute 1 minute.
4. Add asparagus, wine, lemon rind, lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Saute 1 minute.
5. Add peas. Cook 1 minute or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Spoon vegetable mixture into bowls or onto plates and top with scallops.
RECIPE: Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Seared Scallops
Yield: 6 servings
4 large red bell peppers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 quart chicken broth
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put the peppers on a cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes or until the skins are black, turning occasionally. Place in a paper bag or allow to cool slightly and wrap individually in plastic wrap. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins, stems, cores and seeds. Finely dice 2 of the peppers.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, cumin and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the whole roasted peppers and the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the orange juice, orange zest and cilantro.
3. In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper; keep hot.
4. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook over high heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the scallops and diced pepper, and serve.
1. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place on a rack in a baking pan. In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar and dill. Add plenty of pepper. Spoon the mixture heavily on top of the fillet; it should rise at least 1 inch above the surface of the fish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place a cutting board or another baking pan on top. Add a few canned goods to weigh it down slightly and refrigerate 24 to 36 hours.
2. Scrape off all of the salt and sugar under a running faucet. Slice thin on the bias and serve on slices of pumpernickel cocktail bread with dollops of sour cream, if desired. The cured salmon should keep, refrigerated, at least 1 week.