Lighter Fare


Pesce fresche!

By Allan Gillis

It is Friday. I had wanted to do this last year and the year before… just kept getting out of my grasp.  Meatless Fridays.  I resolved for this New Year to keep the First Fridays holy and to observe at least an abstinence on Fridays – the day of the week on which my Lord died on the cross for me.

I’ve heard that even McDonald’s developed their Filet-O-Fish Sandwich back in the early sixties originally to appeal to customers in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in Cincinnati by one of their franchise-owners who wanted to still be able to capture business on Fridays – despite the religious adherence to observing the fast by the Catholic clientele.  This was back in 1962.  UUUHH-HUMMM!, need I point out that this was before Vatican II?  Nahh…shouldn’t say that!  Pope Francis will call me ossified, obstinate and idolatrous.

Anyway, I often find myself caught – especially at lunchtime with the tantalizing notion of something sizzling, blood-red, juicey and protein-packed.  I could NEVER be a vegan or a vegetarian!  I LOVE MEAT!  I get hungry walking through a barn-yard! (I’m NOT kidding!).  Lettuce and baby-greens?  nahhh  no thanks – that is food food.  Get it?

So, depriving myself for one day a week is spiritually a good thing.  BUT.  I do so love seafood!  I’m half Italian and half Scottish.  My people on both sides historically subsisted mainly on “frutti di mare” – fruits of the sea. Baccala, calamari, shrimp scampi with my Mom’s family…  and they often refer to my father’s ilk as “Herrin-chokers”…     a lot of fish – believe me! – whether it was from the all-surrounding waters of Scotland or New Scotland (Nova Scotia). [interesting Latin connection there – cuz, the Scots that escaped to this place where Roman Catholics chased from the still-Catholic/Gaelic-speaking northwest highlands and the Hebrides of Scotland]  I love fish so much – I mean REAL fish…like mackerel, fresh sardines, smelts and herring.  Leave the buttered sole for the wimps – well, maybe I’ll take a taste o’ that after all – thank you…

So here is part of my feast for Friday today:Polpo 1

Octopus! – fresh from Spain!  jetted in last night …was in the Alboran Sea on Tuesday!    Oh Baby!   Rinse and clean the tentacles well…    then..heat about 1 1/2′ – 2″ of olive oil in a pan   –  well before it smokes…   put in the octopus  – or “Polpo” in Italian…cook ’til the oil becomes red with the “ink” – then turn him over…cook the other side and cover to simmer for 20 minutes or so


Polpo 3

Insalata di Polpo!   cut the tentacles off – I discard the head or “tube”.  Slice the tentacles into bite-size pieces and add to your salad.  Here I had some baby-greens, black olives, sliced red peppers and sliced cherry-tomatoes. Virgin olive oil and regular red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper and a bit of herbs-de Provence!


Polpo 4

I added this to my repast…    steamed some fresh Maine clams…    some Sauvignon Blanc and a half-loaf of my own home-baked whole-grain Spelt bread!

Maybe not such an abstinence after all?

2 thoughts on “Lighter Fare

  1. Steve Shields

    First Fridays? All Friday’s should be meatless throughout the year in honor of our Lord’s sacrifice. This is just another glaring example of rapid heretical change and the relativism of the 60’s.


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