Although we feast on it year round, consumption of fish and seafood may be highest in southern Louisiana during Lent, when we enjoy a plentiful selection of seafood on Fridays.
Fried fish and seafood platters are a Lent favorite, and diners often prefer to enjoy them in a restaurant because of the mess that frying can create in the home kitchen. But as good as it is, fried seafood isn’t exactly good for the heart.
Today we’re taking a look at updated ways to prepare southern Louisiana fish and seafood for Lent. They have less butter and healthier fats, and lots of garlic, parsley, and other Southern Louisiana dish brighteners.
Instead of frying, I used an alternative panko crusted catfish recipe, with great results. Any soft fish fillet, such as flounder, cod, tilapia, etc., would work well in this recipe, adapted from thespruceeats.com. A few tablespoons of mayonnaise, mixed with the egg batter, helps the crumbs to stick. The use of olive oil or light mayonnaise, and egg whites only, is perfectly acceptable.
These nets would also be a great variation for making catfish po-boys (dressed up, of course).
Smothered recipes can vary wildly. Some have a butter-based roux base, and others use a canned “cream of something” soup. Basically, Ã©touffÃ©e is simple and easy. One of the best recipes I have found is one that celebrity chef Lafayette Patrick Mold contributed to. mangerwell.com.
It’s made with canola oil instead of butter, thickened with just a tablespoon of flour. Three cups of onions and lots of garlic are used in place of the traditional trinity. It cooks in minutes and is rich and satisfying, a dish I could make over and over again. I have used frozen crayfish tails raised in Louisiana with excellent results.
However, you must use fresh, large shrimp for the scampi. There’s butter, but not a lot, in the low-carb Cooking Light-inspired recipe that I love. White wine, lemon zest and lots of parsley enhance the flavor. To keep it low in carbs, we ate it over spaghetti squash.
Low Carb Shrimp Langoustines
Adapted from Cooking Light. Makes 2 to 4 servings
6 large cloves of garlic
1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Â¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Â½ teaspoon salt, divided use
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 medium lemon
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Finely grate 3 garlic cloves and thinly slice 3 garlic cloves. Combine shrimp, oil, grated garlic, crushed red pepper and Â¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Cook the sliced ââgarlic and 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the shrimp mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque, about 4 minutes.
3. Remove the shrimp. Add the wine to the pan; bring to a boil over high heat and boil until wine is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Remove from fire.
4. Return the shrimp to the pan; add the lemon zest, lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and Â¼ teaspoon of salt. Mix until the shrimp are well coated. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
Small or chopped shrimp can replace crayfish in this excellent diabetic-friendly recipe adapted from Eat Well. Makes 4 servings.
2 tablespoons of canola oil
3 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup sodium-reduced chicken broth
1 tablespoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
1 pound of cleaned and cooked crayfish tails
Â¼ cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add thyme and flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
2. Stir in the broth, Creole seasoning, paprika and hot sauce. Cook until mixture thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the crayfish. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and parsley.
Baked panko crusted fish fillets
Adapted from thespruceeats.com. Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets (catfish, tilapia, cod, plaice, pollock or other mild white fish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup unseasoned panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Â¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1-1 / 2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, then coat with nonstick cooking spray. Cut fillets into 6 ounce portions if necessary. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
2. In a shallow bowl, combine the panko and parsley. Put the flour in another shallow bowl and whisk the eggs in a third shallow bowl with the Creole seasoning and mayonnaise.
3. Dip the fillets in the flour, coating each piece well. Then dip each into the egg mixture, then into the panko, pressing lightly to help the crumbs adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fillets.
4. Cook, 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish, so adjust for very thin or very thick fillets. Serve hot with lemon wedges.