Christians are now in the liturgical season of Lent, a time of reflection, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial.
As a child I learned that during Lent we should give up something that we really liked. At one time or another I tried giving up school, shoveling the paths to the woodshed and chicken coop, and taking cod liver oil. Instead my parents suggested that I give up reading comic books, eating candy bars or listening to the Lone Ranger on the radio. With choices like these, Lent was a very long season.
Most of my Catholic friends did not eat meat on Fridays, so school lunches those days tended to be things like macaroni and cheese or tuna hot dish. During Lent school lunches included a meat-free choice every day. As a Lutheran I could eat meat every day, but sometimes I enjoyed with my Catholic friends a steaming bowl of chowder or a plate of baked fish and vegetables.
We ate a lot of fish when I was a kid, and I still like it. So does Jerri, whose father loved catching catfish from the pond in their pasture. When Jerri and I were first married, we lived in Virginia. There was a fish market just a few blocks from our apartment where we could buy ocean perch for just pennies a pound.
Jerri found this recipe in a magazine at her doctor’s office during those early years when our son was getting ready to explore this world. I was already showing the results of her excellent cooking, and she thought a low calorie main dish was in order. And since we were on a very limited graduate student budget, the obvious economy of the recipe also appealed to her.
Though I feel that many low calorie dishes should better be reserved for medical diets, this combination of fish, green pepper, tomato and yogurt is excellent. Serve it during Lent or any time you want a delicious and inexpensive seafood dinner.
12 oz. fish fillets (ocean perch or pollock work fine)
1 or 2 T lemon juice
1 or 2 T butter
1 small onion (2” diameter or so) chopped medium
1/2 to 3/4 green pepper chopped medium
1 medium or 2 small tomatoes, cut in eighths
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash or two of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 to 2/3 cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Rinse the fillets and place them in a shallow oven proof pan that has been lightly greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes. Use a fork to test for doneness after the fish has baked twenty minutes. If it flakes, the fish is done. If not, bake it another few minutes.
While the fish is baking, melt the butter in a small frying pan and sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the green pepper and tomato and sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for about five to seven minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a minute. Add the yogurt all at once and stir well. Spoon the sauce over the fish.
Serve with white rice and a garden salad. Makes two generous servings
NOTE: You can double or triple this recipe without any trouble.