Fact: As a small child, I thought there were only 2 types of Religions: Catholic - for people like me who went to Catholic School and Catholic Church, and Public - for those who went to the other, public school and I'd just assumed there was also a "Public Church" for them, too!
Clearly, I was very wrong! I've since learned otherwise. Now I live in Hawaii, the only place in America with minority majority, and where us haoles (white people) are the minority! There are more religious places of worship than I can identify or count.
In Pittsburgh, you'll find many Catholics who practice the "we don't eat meat on Friday" rule.
That's right, Aunt Tula, we don't eat NO MEAT!
Fridays in Lent in Pittsburgh revolve around getting a good fish sandwich. Your Church always has a Fish Fry, your favorite restaurant has a "Friday Fish Special", which is probably a fried fish fillet with or without the bun, and if you can't find one you stay home and eat fish sticks from the freezer. My good friend Deanna, you may remember her as Jalapeno Hannah, is also from Pittsburgh and grew up with Friday Fish Frys. She demanded that we try to replicate the tradition, since they're non existent here in Hawaii. Too much fresh fish being prepared in fancy ways for us yinzers! Let's deep fry some square, frozen fish fillets! That's not exactly what we did though, here's how to host a Fish Fry...
Step 1: Invite your friends over and give them wine.
Here's Deanna and Paul.
Step 2: Make the fish. We used sole that we picked up in the seafood section of the grocery store. We dipped each piece in egg, then cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper, and baked them on a (cookie sheet topped with parchment paper) in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes.
Step 3: Assemble sandwiches. We used hoagie buns, yum! The thin fish fillets were a little bit lost with all the bread, so we ate 2 pieces of fish per sandwich.
Step 4: Add condiments. You can see how differently this step turned out!
Step 5: Enjoy!
Steps 6, 7, 8, etc: Refill wine glass, drink more wine, refill wine glass, etc!
Cheesy Hawaiian themed paper plates optional.
The sandwiches were great! The fish was flaky and had a nice coating from the cornmeal. The bread was soft and perfect for the occasion. We ended up sharing the leftovers and they were gone before the party ended! So was the wine... all 3 bottles. There's no rule that says you can't have wine on Fridays during Lent!
Our Fish Fry was a success! We didn't have a basement or anything actually fried, so it wasn't very authentic. Here's what we included in our Fish Fry to make it our own:
- 2 girls from Pittsburgh
- 1 guy who used to live in New Orleans who, because he lived there, claims to be a fish sandwich expert
- Viewing and constant quoting of Mean Girls
- An entire bag of Funyuns, which was consumed before the oven has time to preheat! Oops, I wasn't supposed to tell anyone about that... Is butter a carb?