Fridays in Lent don’t have to scare you — there are so many ways to prepare fish that you can practically master a different style each week. Instead of turning up your nose at the seafood, serve your fish a fun way each Friday and discern which style you like best. These recipes found around the web yield such delicious dishes that Friday might just become your favorite day yet.
1. Foil-Baked Fish
First up: a foil-baked fish recipe from Eat, Live, Run. Baking your fish in foil is one of the healthiest way to cook seafood because packing the fish in foil with veggies allows it to cook and soak up its own juices, sans butter and oil. You’ll be shocked to find how flavorful and juicy your fish turns out, and when you unwrap your foil, you’ll see why the French have so much success with fish en papillote.
- 3 tilapia fillets
- 1 zucchini, sliced into 3-inch matchsticks
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 (1 inch) piece of fennel, sliced thin
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 3-inch matchsticks
- ½ cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine the sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, fennel, sliced green onions, garlic, oregano, and basil. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the veggies and add a pinch of salt. Toss well.
Pull a square of tin foil about 12-by-24 inches out. Fold it in half and place one fish fillet in the center. Add some vegetables on top and around the fish, then drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil around the fish and fold in all sides tightly so that no steam escapes. You want a nice, tight little package.
Repeat with the remaining fish fillets and then place the foil packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until fish has baked through and flakes easily. You can check the fish after 15 minutes by unwrapping a tiny corner of the foil and poking a knife or fork inside.
2. Sautéed Fish
Or, if you’d rather cook your fish in a skillet, check out this recipe for Spicy Sautéed Fish with Olives and Cherry Tomatoes from Epicurious. Sautéing is a very popular cooking technique because it’s simple and difficult to mess up. Simply heat olive oil in your skillet, season your fish, and throw it on the burner for 3 minutes per side. Follow Epicurious’s directions for flavoring and season your fish perfectly with tomatoes, olives, and garlic.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 pounds tilapia, red snapper, or orange roughy fillets
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
Directions: Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Add half of fish to skillet and sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to platter. Repeat with remaining fish. Add parsley and crushed red pepper to same skillet; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, olives, and garlic; sauté until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 2 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper; spoon over fish.
3. Spice-Rubbed Grilled Salmon
Contrary to popular belief, you can still grill in the winter, and this recipe by Martha Stewart will motivate you. Her site explains that when grilling in the cold winter months, cooks should open their grill lid as little as possible to keep any heat from escaping. With this recipe for Spice-Rubbed Grilled Salmon, all of the prep work is done inside and then the fish is grilled for 10 to 15 minutes. If you brave the cold, we promise you’ll enjoy eating the fruit of your labor.
- 1 tablespoon each whole coriander, cumin, dill, and yellow-mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 whole four-pound side of salmon, skin on, small bones and excess fat removed
- Olive oil
- Spicy cucumber salsa
Directions: Combine all seeds in a skillet over medium heat; toast, shaking pan, until aromatic, 4 to 6 minutes. Grind seeds coarsely in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl; add salt, pepper, and sugar.
Rub spice mixture into flesh side of salmon. Let stand 30 minutes; if not grilling right away, refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 days. Let salmon come to room temperature before grilling.
Heat grill to hot; coals should be glowing red, and rack should be very hot. Brush both sides of salmon and hot rack with oil. Grill salmon, flesh side down, until firm and slightly charred, 4 to 8 minutes. Carefully turn salmon using 2 large spatulas. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, or until mostly opaque but slightly translucent and cooked through. Serve with cucumber salsa.
4. Seafood Soup
Here’s a recipe that will allow you to serve your seafood with a spoon on Friday. This seafood soup from Taste of Home is packed full of shrimp and salmon, and it also enlists many veggies in the mix. Thanks to the protein from the fish and the fiber from the vegetables, this hearty soup will keep you full all night long, and makes great leftovers.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
- ¾ cup white wine or chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ pound salmon fillets, skinned and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- ½ pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Directions: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and green pepper; cook and stir until tender. Add carrots and garlic; cook 3 minutes longer. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, wine, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
Stir in salmon, shrimp, and parsley. Cook, covered, 7-10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork and shrimp turn pink. Discard bay leaf.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious this Lenten season, try your hand at fish lovers’ favorite sophisticated dish: Bouillabaisse. Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew that originated in France, but Americans have been cooking and enjoying it for years. While the recipe for the dish isn’t difficult, it is time-consuming; however, we can promise it is worth it. Spend your next Friday night in and master bouillabaisse with this recipe from Food & Wine.
- One 3-inch piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 fennel bulb — fronds reserved, bulb cored, and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, 3 coarsely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 bay leaves
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons pastis or Pernod
- 5 cups store-bought fish stock
- 1 2-pound live lobster
- Eight ½-inch-thick baguette slices, cut on the bias
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 pound monkfish, cut into sixteen 1 ½-inch pieces
- 1 pound skinless red snapper fillets, cut into 16 1½-inch pieces
- 1 pound skinless halibut fillet, cut into 16 1½-inch pieces
Directions: In a mini food processor, sprinkle the diced bread with the water and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, and salt and process until the bread and garlic are coarsely chopped. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil and process until the rouille is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
In a very large, deep skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks, onion, fennel and chopped garlic and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, saffron, and pastis and bring to a boil. Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
In a food processor, pulse the vegetables and broth to a coarse puree. Strain through a fine sieve set over the skillet. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the lobster and cook until it turns bright red, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the lobster under cold water until cool enough to handle. Remove the tail, claw and knuckle meat and cut into 1-inch pieces. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and broil them 6 inches from the heat for about 1 minute per side, until the slices are golden brown around the edges. Rub each slice with the remaining whole garlic clove and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add the potatoes and cayenne pepper to the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the clams, cover and cook over moderate heat until they just begin to open, about 3 minutes. Add the monkfish, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the lobster, snapper, and halibut, cover and simmer until the clams are open and all the fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Set a baguette toast in each of 8 shallow bowls. Ladle the fish and broth over the toasts and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of the rouille. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and serve immediately.
6. Fish Tacos
Last on our list is a fish dish that is slightly less sophisticated than bouillabaisse, but just as delicious. Fish tacos appease everyone, and can make your Friday night dinner a favorite. Try these spicy fish tacos from Foodie Crush and teach your loved ones to love tacos sans beef. This dinner is fresh and healthy, and can be customized any way you like.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 3-ounce pieces of tilapia, skin removed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 white corn tortillas
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- ½ cup cotija cheese
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Pickled carrots
- 2 limes, quartered
Directions: Mix the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and kosher salt in a small bowl. Season the tilapia pieces well with the spice mix. Heat a cast iron skillet on high and warm the tortillas on both sides, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per tortilla. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in the cast iron skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on both sides, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Top each tortilla with a slice of fish, jalapeño slices, pickled carrots, cotija cheese, avocado slices, and cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.