Column: Lent is fish fry season


Commentary by Mark LaFay

With Super Bowl Sunday, Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in our wake, now we are squarely in the Lent season, which, for those who aren’t familiar, is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

This year, Easter falls on the last Sunday of March. Lent is primarily recognized by Catholics; however, several protestant denominations also recognize Lent and have made it part of their church traditions as well. It is not uncommon for Christians to fast during Lent. Fasting is an intentional act to make those fasting be reminded during Lent of Christ’s life and ultimately his death. 

Another tradition during Lent is abstaining from meat on Fridays, leading to the Friday fish fries you may notice at area Catholic churches. So, if you want the full cultural experience, here is a list of several area Friday fish fries for the season of Lent:

Holy Spirit Parish at Geist – 10350 Glaser Way, Fishers

Every Friday during Lent
5-7:30 p.m.

Our Lady of Grace – 9900 E. 191st St, Noblesville

Fridays February 21-April 3
4:30-7:30 p.m.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church – 410 S. Pearl St., Cicero

Fridays Feb. 28-March 20
5:30-7:30 p.m.

St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church – 1870 W. Oak St., Zionsville

Every Friday during Lent
5-8 p.m.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – 10655 Haverstick Rd., Carmel,

Every Friday during Lent
5-7:30 p.m.

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church – 319 East South St., Lebanon

Every Friday during Lent
5-7 p.m.

Don’t want to go to church to get your Friday fish on?  Several area restaurants will offer specials on their fish items. Upland has salmon and cod dishes on the menu. My kids love their fish and chips. Sahm’s Restaurant group will have several fish specials as well.

Don’t want to go out to eat? Here are three quick fish dishes that go great with grilled veggies and pasta:

1. Herb-Crusted Baked Cod


  • 4 cod filets
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs, parsley, dill, lemon zest and minced garlic. Stir in the olive oil until the mixture is well-coated and crumbly.
  3. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, then press the herb-crumb mixture onto the top of each fillet, creating a thick crust.
  4. Place the crusted fillets in the prepared baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the crust is golden.
  5. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad.

2. Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Skewers


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Lemon slices for serving


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers.
  4. Grill the shrimp skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are pink and opaque.
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon slices and a light couscous salad.

3. Mediterranean-Style Baked Tilapia


  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon slices for serving


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Season the tilapia fillets with salt and pepper and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Top each fillet with tomato slices, olives, feta cheese, and capers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle chopped basil over the top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Serve the baked tilapia with lemon slices and a side of quinoa or roasted vegetables for a complete Mediterranean-inspired meal.