JEFF TIEDEMAN: The bite is onDon’t wait until Lent to include fish on your menu.
One of my goals for 2012 is to have fish at least once a week. So far, I have succeeded.
Since the first of the year, Therese and I have had three or four meals that featured baked salmon as well as cod twice and halibut once.
Luckily for me, I never have a shortage of good fish recipes to try. Only this past week, I received an email — just in time for Lent — with two scrumptious-looking recipes from the folks at Spice Islands, one of which tonight will be finding its way to our dining room table.
That means I’ll have more than one meal of fish this week. I’m going to be the guest host Friday for the first fish fry of the Lenten season at East Grand Forks Sacred Heart.
The dinner centerpiece, which features baked potatoes, coleslaw, homemade buns and pies, is deep-fried Alaskan walleye, also known as pollock (a member of the cod family).
One of the rules Catholics observe during Lent, which is 40 days long and ends on Good Friday, is that you can’t have meat on Ash Wednesday (today) and Fridays.
Since I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school for 12 years, that observation isn’t that hard for me. We couldn’t eat meat on Friday.
Our school lunch always featured some kind of fish on Fridays. Most of the time, it was either tuna casserole (we just had this at home Tuesday night) or fish sticks. And in the Tiedeman house on Friday nights, it usually was more of the same — unless Mom made homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Some unusual recipes
Not all recipes that come my way seem as appealing as the ones from Spice Islands.
The ones co-worker Chuck Haga passed on were contained in brochures sent to him after he had written a story for the Star Tribune in 2003 about the invasive Asian carp, which has been deemed a threat to Midwest fisheries.
(Carp, in case you didn’t know it, is an oily freshwater fish, a bottom feeder, that has been a highly esteemed food in Europe but is classified as a “rough fish” in the U.S.)
One of the brochures — Conservation Bulletin No. 5 — was from the Minnesota Department of Conservation. It was entitled “Carp can be delicious” and was touted as “the story of the fish’s introduction to Minnesota and its value as a food fish, together with recipes for its proper preparation.”
Recipes in the 1944 publication included ones for “steamed carp with tomato sauce,” “carp dumplings,” “pickled carp” and “scalloped carp.”
The other pamphlet was from the University of Minnesota-Crookston. It contained recipe ideas for carp that were developed by dietetic technician students.
They did this in response to a request from the North Country Food Co-op, which had a surplus of ground carp. (The co-op shared the recipes with 46 food shelves, soup kitchens, shelters and other clients in 21 Minnesota counties.)
Among its recipes were ones for “cheesy fish enchiladas,” “Cheddar quiche,” “fish chowder I and II,” “fish patties” and “Carolina fish cakes.”
Although Chuck said he sampled some of the recipes while visiting the UMC campus and added that some were quite tasty (though he’d pass on others in a buffet line), I’m glad pollock, and not carp, is on the menu at Sacred Heart.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.