Preparing for Good Friday Fish Day!
Good Friday in bygone days was considered by the Catholic Church to be a day of complete fasting. In more modern times, rules have relaxed. However for those who observe these religious traditions, meat is still not allowed to be eaten on the day that marks the crucifixion of Christ. In the past, fish became the alternative protein on Good Friday. Many Catholics eat fish on Good Friday - and indeed in Ireland, on every Friday of every week throughout the year. Friday is fish day in this country!
Far from being a food that was once ‘endured’ in religious times, fish is now having its heyday. Health experts and nutritionists have done much to promote it’s dietary benefits, recommending fresh fish should be eaten three times a week for optimum health.
Seafood specialists like tv celebrity chef Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy Restaurant in Kinsale, Co. Cork, have made fish popular, removing the worry of not knowing how to prepare and cook it and creating deliciously healthy family recipes.
WE LOVE GOOD FRIDAY FISH!
Regardless of the fact that religious laws are not as extreme as they once were, we still like to observe the traditions of eating fish on Good Friday. It’s no hardship. Why would it be, when we’re surrounded by waters that offer some of the best catches in the world? Our fishing fleets bring home the finest haddock, hake, monkfish, Lemon Sole, Black Sole, plaice, brill and turbot, as well as mackerel, tuna, swordfish, brown shrimps, crab and lobster in season.
Oysters and mussels are farmed off the coast of Ireland, while scallops are collected by divers in some areas like Bantry Bay. Lesser known shellfish like cockles and razor clams are also becoming popular, through contemporary Irish restaurants who are featuring these sustainable shellfish on their menus. When it comes to fish and seafood, we have it very good here in this country!
WHAT TO COOK THIS GOOD FRIDAY
We had a quick look through our recipe archives for some great fish dishes to inspire you this Good Friday. Here are a few to get you going!
ZUPPA DI PESCE – FISH SOUP WITH SAFFRON AIOLI AND ORIEL SEA SALT
This fish soup is prepared by Tara Walker of The East Coast Cookery School. Tara gets the freshest catches from the fish shop at the harbour in Clogherhead. She uses Oriel Sea Salt, harvested at Clogherhead, to season and bring out the fresh natural flavours of the fish. A great dish for bringing the sunshine into your kitchen this Good Friday. Check out the recipe here.
KILMORE QUAY FISHCAKES WITH GARLIC AND CAPER MAYONNAISE
Great for a light lunch, these gorgeous fishcakes are made from freshest fish landed at Kilmore Quay in Co. Wexford and prepared by The Kitchen @ Gorey, Co. Wexford. Easy to put together and impressive to serve, this homemade fishcakes recipe will make you look like a pro in the kitchen!
CARRYGERRY SEAFOOD CHOWDER
Where would we without Seafood Chowder in Ireland? Its one of our most well known fish dishes, on the menu of gastropubs and seafood restaurants nationwide. But there are chowders and then there are chowders. This one is a perfectly balanced and totally tasty award-winning creation from Niall Ennis of Carrygerry Country House in Co. Clare. It marries fresh Irish fish and shellfish in a creamy broth, served with Cheese and Mustard Scones. A lunch to set you up for the day! View the recipe here.
RAY WINGS WITH MANGO AND ROAST RED PEPPER SALSA
A fabulous main course dish with plenty of zingy flavours about it! Created by Pat Kiely of O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant in Bantry, West Cork. Fish comes from the boats which land here at Bantry harbour. You can’t get fresher than that! A great Good Friday main course. View the recipe in full here.