With the first Friday of Lent already gone, you may already be pondering how you’re going to make it through another month of cutting meat out of your diet once a week. For midwesterners, the answer is simple: Bring the family around the table for a Friday Night Fish Fry.
Over 21% of the nation’s people who practice the Catholic faith live in the Midwest. It’s no wonder, then, that Wisconsin is often noted as the birthplace of eating fried fish on Friday. When early European immigrants, like the millions of Irish Catholics fleeing the potato famine, came to America, they brought with them a love of seafood and the observance of the Lenten tradition of abstaining from meat on the last day of the work week.
The geography of the region made it easy to continue their tradition. With thousands of lakes boasting the likes of perch, walleye, and bas, it was easy for career and novice fisherman alike to find an abundance of gilled goodies to help feed their families.
They also brought a sense of closeness and community that naturally evolved into neighborly dinners, family get-togethers, and the Friday Night Fish Fries we know and love today.
When it comes to perfecting your Friday Fish Fry game, there are several components that simply can’t be ignored.
Of course, it all starts with a great piece of fish. Anything from catfish to haddock works, as long as it’s flaky and works well with a light batter. It should be fried crispy, but light, and melt in your mouth.
To accentuate the fish’s natural yum-factor, include lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce. Start with a creamy mayonnaise base, then add in chopped capers. Most folks like to sprinkle in a little relish, dill, parsley, and lemon juice to enhance the flavor.
Keep your sides simple and traditional. Almost every fish fry includes some kind of hearty potato. In most cases, your guests will be searching for a mounding plate of crispy fries, but you can mix it up however you’d like. If you really want to impress, offer a few different options like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and potatoes au gratin. The choices are only limited by the number of recipes you know!
Creamy coleslaw rounds out the meal, acting as a light, acidic counterpart to the heavier fish and potatoes. Shredded cabbage and carrots are dressed with a mix of mayo, lemon, vinegar, and spices that serve as the perfect complement to the dense main entrees.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a fish fry without a thick slice of bread or an air-light dinner roll. Marbled rye is a very popular option. It’s substantial texture and heartiness help it stand up to even the most enthusiastic diner’s impromptu fish sandwich.
Observing Lent doesn’t mean you have to spend your Friday evening’s dealing with the prep and mess that goes into frying up your family a delicious meal. At Anduzzi’s, we offer two fish fry options that will let you honor your traditions without sacrificing flavor.
First up, our Icelandic Hand Breaded Cod plate features flaky, white fish fillets hand-battered and fried to a delicate golden brown. If you prefer perch, we also offer a Fresh Lake Perch Plate with crispy-battered lake perch. Both meals come with all of the accoutrements, including cole slaw, thick-sliced marble rye, tartar sauce, and your choice of side. We’re pretty partial to the French fries ourselves.
Don’t let Lent give you the dinnertime blues. Keep to your goals of going meatless, without the fear of heading to bed hungry by heading over to Anduzzi’s. We’ll take care of the rest!