We didn’t eat much fish at my house when I was a little girl – except on Fridays. We always had fish on Fridays, because that was what all good Italian Catholic families in the Bronx did. Even after Vatican II said it was okay to eat meat on Fridays, we didn’t. My mother said it just didn’t seem right. It was almost always the exact same kind of fish too – flounder, dipped in egg and bread crumbs and fried.
Every Friday afternoon when I got home from school, my mother would press a ten dollar bill in my hand and send me down the block to Mario, the fish guy, for 1 1/2 pounds of “flounder fillets”. As I moseyed on down to Mario’s, she’d invariably call after me to “Make sure you smell the fish!”, and “Don’t forget to count the change!” And, I always did. To this day, I never buy a piece of fish without smelling it first, although I’m not quite as religious about counting my change.
Now, that I’m a grown up, I pretty much eat whatever I want on Fridays. But during Lent, it’s back to fish – except for fried flounder. Been there, done that. Luckily, there are many other kinds of fish and seafood available to me here in sunny Florida and a gazillion different ways to prepare them. When I saw this legendary, old Marcella Hazan recipe featured in the new issue of Food and Wine, I knew it was my destiny. read more >>