Dundonnell Smoked Salmon

Fish – Perfect For Eating During Lent

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01 March 2017

Today (March 1st) is Ash Wednesday, which means that Lent has just begun and good Catholics everywhere are preparing themselves for fasting during the Lenten season, which happens today and on every Friday until Holy Thursday.

Of course, it’s not just Catholics who observe Lent and many people, religious or otherwise, give up something they love for the next 40 days, whether it’s smoking, drinking alcohol or eating chocolate. The idea is to sacrifice something during the Lenten season, something that you’re particularly fond of. Remember that it’s not supposed to be an easy 40 days!

Some observant Catholics will make sure they very strictly adhere to certain rules about what food they can and can’t eat during Lent. On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, Catholics can eat fish, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, but they must steer clear of beef, pork, chicken, deer and lamb. People often fast at this time of year to help them prepare spiritually in the lead-up to Easter, a time when people reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection, although it’s not complete abstinence from food – rather, a special diet where certain foods and meals are restricted.

The good news is that you can eat lots of fish! The practice dates all the way back to Roman times, where people would avoid meat because this was considered a wealthy food and the idea of Lent is to eat as poor people would. Back then, it was possible for anyone (irrespective of money) to head out and catch themselves a fish and it was not considered a luxury item – hence why it’s fine to eat it during Lent.

A lot of people are often put off by the thought of cooking fish but it’s actually really easy and once you start you’ll realise this immediately – and you’ll soon start incorporating salmon trimmings, mackerel, kippers and more on your weekly menus. Perhaps start off with something simple like just putting some smoked salmon in your scrambled eggs (it works really well with dill) and work up from there.

Did you know that it’s also really easy to make your own fish cakes? Again, people think that this is a difficult and time-consuming recipe but it couldn’t be easier to do! Simply chop your potatoes up and boil them for ten minutes or so, then mix them in a bowl with your cooked fish and whatever herbs and spices you want, then form them into patties. Once done, dip your cakes in some whisked egg and then into some flour, and put them on some baking parchment on a baking tray. Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour, then fry until golden brown on both sides.

You can make fish cakes with a wide variety of different fish (basa is a particularly exotic option if you want to try something new)… so why not give it a go this Lent and see what happens?

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