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Edging into Lent

Island Epicure

Today, February 15th, my devout readers begin their Lenten six-week fast from red meats and eggs.  Their menus will offer diners bean dishes and seafoods. No beef, lamb, bison, or pork need apply for admission to their kitchens.  Even so, gourmet meals can and will be served. Fish will also be allowed. After all, Jesus and his friends ate fish at the Last Supper.

Here are is a dish my son Steve and grandson James enjoyed recently. James, a very good cook himself, praised the Seafood Chowder, and split the last bites of the Pear and Gorganzola Salad with Steve, so I’m sure you and your family will enjoy them.

Seafood Chowder
   4 servings
About ½ pound raw prawns      Or 1 cup large cooked, shelled frozen shrimp
2 filets of sole or other white fish
1 can chopped clams with their liquor, optional
1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup diced onion
4 small red or Yukon gold potatoes
¼  teaspoon dried dill
Hot water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash red pepper flakes or 3 drops Tabasco sauce
½ to 1 cup milk

 If using raw prawns, cook them with a bay leaf and a slice of lemon until the prawns turn pink. Remove them from the hot cooking water. Keep that water for the chowder. For now run cold water over the prawns until they are cool enough to handle. Take off their shells and cut them into bite-size pieces.

Open the clans if using. Put their liquor with the prawn cooking water and set the clams aside while you peel and dice half of a very large white onion or all of a small red onion.  

 Wash and remove any sprouts from potatoes. Wash potatoes, removing sprouts if any.
cut each potato into bite size pieces.

Heat the coconut oil in a  6-cup saucepan, stir-fry the onion until it is shiny and limp. Add the potato pieces and the prawn cooking water, discarding the bay leaf and lemon slice. Add more hot water as  needed to cover these ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Add a little more boiling water as needed.

Add the sea foods. Cook 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Break it into bite size pieces. Add milk to make the chowder your desired consistency.  Heat to steaming, but do not allow to boil again. Add red pepper flakes  or Tabasco.  Serve with toast or crackers.
Complete the meal with a salad. My suggestion is:

Pear & Gorganzola Salad                               4 servings
4 large lettuce leaves
1 ripe Anjou pear
Gorganzola cheese crumbles

Wash lettuce leaves one at a time under running hot water. (Don’t worry; they won’t wilt.) Pat them dry between clean tea towels. Tear lettuce into pieces and place in a salad serving bowl.  Cut the pear into 8 wedges, removing the core. Arrange atop the lettuce. Scatter the gorganzola among the pear wedges. Alternatively, cut the pear wedges into bite size pieces and scatter them atop the lettuce, then follow up with the gorganzola crumbles.