Friday, February 22, 2013

"Fish, Zucchini, and Lemon Kebabs" For A Meatless Friday

Spring may not have made a commitment to New York just yet, but regardless of the weather, it’s that time of year again: Lent. Fish or a meatless meal has always been a tradition for Catholics all over the world. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the faithful, as they await the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. As good Catholics we do not eat meat on Friday during this season.

Everyone knows that fish is good for you. The fats in fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, help to prevent Heart Disease and can even aid in preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and stroke. Did you know that Americans eat only about 15 lbs of fish per person in a year, but we eat two times as much fish in restaurants than at home? I wonder why that is? Buying, storing, and cooking fish isn’t difficult; it just requires a little knowledge. Here are some ideas that will assist you in all things about “Fish.”

When you buy fish the first thing that you should do is smell it. Fresh fish should smell sweet like you are at the edge of the ocean. If you smell a strong or fishy odor that means that the fish is not fresh and it is past its peak. Do not buy it! The next thing when you are purchasing fresh fish is to look at it. If you are buying a whole fish it should look like you just caught it on your fishing pole and pulled it out of the water. It should have firm flesh and bright eyes which would indicate that it was extremely fresh. If fish fillets or fish steaks are your choice make sure that they are firm and bright looking, with no discoloration of any sorts.

When storing your fresh fish keep it in your refrigerator for only a day or two. Any longer than that it will be perishable but you can freeze it if you wrap it tightly in freezer wrap. (Make sure you date it)  Fish that is frozen can be thawed in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or under cold running water.

Don’t forget about the bones in a fish. Many types of fish including salmon and trout have small pin bones. These can be easily removed by using your fingers or small tweezers. You can buy fish with the bones taken out by your fishmonger but it will be generally more expensive. When I was a child my mother would make fish for Friday night dinner and she always told us not to talk when we were eating the fish. Her reasoning was that if there were any bones we could swallow them while we were talking. Which made perfect sense to a young child, but I don’t know if she was also trying to keep us quite so we could finish our dinner and not dilly-dally. You know mothers sometimes have ulterior motives!

When cooking fish to test if it’s done, see if the fish “flakes”. Insert your fork gently into the thickest part and see if the fish begins to separate along the natural lines. There is a balance between flawlessly cooked fish and overcooked- fish. Remember fish cooks quickly and if you leave it in the pan it’s cooked in for a while it will continue to cook. Tuna and salmon can be served medium rare, but some people like their fish cooked well done. It is your own preference, you choose.

So, have I caught your interest? Will you cook some fish tonight? Looking for a fish dish for Fridays? I have the answer, my recipe this week is a very easy and delicious meatless meal for not only Fridays but any day of the week. It is called “Fish, Zucchini, and Lemon Kebabs.” These small rolled fish filet kebabs are so superb. The combination of the zucchini and the lemons add freshness to the dish. The aroma of this recipe is so appealing that it will be pleasing to your appetite. This amazing recipe serves 4 and you can serve it on a bed of rice with a big tossed salad. Definitely a Friday night to remember! Enjoy and Mangia!

Fish, Zucchini, and Lemon Kebabs

16 small, thin sole fillets, or 8 larger ones, skinned and cut in half lengthways
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 juice of a lemon
Finley grated rind of 1/2 lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 drops of Tabasco sauce (optional)
2 medium-sized zucchini cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 green / 1 red pepper (to give some color to the dish) seeded, cut into 1 inch pieces

Roll up each sole filet like a Swiss roll and secure with a cocktail toothpick. Place the fish rolls in a shallow dish. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Spoon the olive oil mixture evenly over fish rolls and chill for no more than an hour. Remove the toothpicks and carefully thread the rolled fish fillets onto the kebab skewers alternately with the zucchini slices and pieces of green and red pepper slices. Brush each kebab with a little of the lemon and oil marinade. Arrange the kebab skewers on a grill pan and cook under a moderately hot grill or broiler about 8 minutes, carefully turning the kebabs once or twice during cooking and brushing them with a little of the remaining marinade if required. Serve on a bed of rice with lemon slices on the side. Deelish!!!!

Till Next Time………………………………....

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