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Recipes for the Lenten Season
Contributed by Hartson Dowd

Herring or smelts have always been a mainstay on the Irish table, especially during Lent. But, to enjoy them to the fullest, they have to be as fresh as possible and preferably eaten on the day they are caught - or bought.

Fried Herring (Smelts)

4 whole fresh herring (mackerel is a good substitute)
lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten (Or egg substitute, if you are observing the traditional Lenten abstinence from dairy, eggs and meat products)
oat flakes
2-tablespoons sunflower oil
1-tablespoon butter or margarine. (Or butter substitute)


1. The easiest way is to purchase fresh-dressed herring from the market. However, it's not that difficult to prepare fresh-caught fish yourself. First, remove the scales with the back of a knife, cut off the head and then gut.
2. Rinse off, pat dry, then fold the fish out flat and remove as many of the bones as you can without too much damage to the flesh.
3. Sprinkle the insides with lemon juice and season.
4. Dip the fish into the beaten egg, then into the oat flakes, and fry in the oil with the butter or margarine. Fish is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork.
5. Serve with tomato and mushroom sauce.
Tomato and Mushroom Sauce

1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1. Peel and chop the onion and garlic.
2. Fry in a little oil until soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.

Serves four.

Editorial Note: Mashed potatoes and what Bridget's brother calls "mushy peas" will round out this Lenten supper. Of course, fresh-baked soda bread is a given, but during Lent, traditionalists won't eat dairy products, so no "lashings of butter." However, might we suggest dipping the bread in the tomato-mushroom sauce. Sounds really delicious to us!

Image: Aran Island Fisherwomen photographic print from Barewalls. See a great collection of other black and white old Irish photos here: Old Irish Photographs.

Any purchase made helps to support our site (and Bridget's fondness for tea towels). Thank you.


Thu, Jul 9, 2015

"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb

The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson

Margaret Johnson’s love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.


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