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At Home Fish Fry with Jessica!

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Lent looks a little different this year thanks to social distancing and health and safety protocols. And while some parishes will keep their fish fries going by means of carry out and drive-thru options, many churches are opting to skip this year’s Lenten tradition. But all hope is not lost! You can still have a fish fry in the comfort and safety of your home. And because I hail from the Deep South, my list of essential items for a Lenten fish fry may differ slightly from your own.

Here’s what you need for a good, down home, Southern fish fry.

1. Fried (cat)fish. Growing up, this meant venturing out onto the Red River or Lake Bisteneau and catching the whiskered critters first, then watching as my dad filleted, battered and fried them up on our back porch. While not realistic in the chilly flurries of southern Ohio, there are other, easier options.

If you’re going to buy the fish fillets and make the batter from scratch, look no further The Cajun Ninja.

Looking for an easier alternative? Buy pre-battered fish in the freezer section of your local grocery store. You can drop them in the fryer, or if you’re looking for a healthier option, place them in your air fryer.

2. Slaw! We call this “the good stuff.” In The Catholic Telegraph’s Ultimate Guide to Lent, you can download my recipe for free!

3. Hushpuppies. No fish fry is complete without these tasty crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside goodies. While you can buy these pre-made in the freezer section (which we did when we had a lot of fish, and not enough time for other things), they are wonderful when they’re made from scratch 4. Fries. As a kid, my dad would make our French fries. He’d wash and chop the potatoes, then roll them around in the same batter he’d already made for the fried fish, before dropping in the fryer.

While I highly recommend this approach, these days we keep it simple. Our favorites frozen fries are Trader Joe’s brand, but any frozen bag will do. Dump them into the fryer, air fry them, or bake them in your oven.

5. Fried squash. One of my favorite parts of the fish fry growing up was watching my dad harvest the squash he grew in his garden, slice it up thinly, dip it in milk and then roll it in batter before tossing it in the fryer. Crunchy deliciousness.

6. Tartar sauce vs. ketchup: which do you go for? We’re a house divided, but if you’re the tartar sauce type, Love & Lemon’s recipe is sure to please.

Remember that fish fries usually provide a big financial boost for our Catholic parishes. While you bless your food, remember to pray for your pastor and parish family, and consider making a donation to your church in lieu of purchasing a fish-fry plate in person this year.
Check out The Catholic Telegraph’s Fish Fry Guide: click here.

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