Mary Month of May: Sonnets for Our Lady

I first became aquainted with the wonderful Mary site at the University of Dayton many, many years ago and have treasured it as a resource and wellspring of so much information about the Blessed Mother.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored films, gardens, books and foods inspired by the Blessed Virgin and this week, with help from Dayton University, there’s an opportunity to take a pilgrimage through the poetry composed in her honor down through the centuries. You’ll find a world of poetry here — East, West, North and South all around the globe — poets have taken pen in hand and picked the finest words with which to honor her.

Go to for inspiration and delight.

The recipe this week is pure poetry of a different sort. Inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Fatima, Portugal, where  hundreds of thousands of faithful joined him in prayer to the dear Lady of Fatima, this is a traditional dish, another of the fish dishes I love to serve up on Fridays — a harbinger of the pre-Vatican II kitchen of my youth.

This dish – peixe no forno com vinho branca e tomate in Portguese – translates loosely in English to baked fish with white wine and tomatoes.

Ingredients — 4 serving pieces of hake or other firm fleshed white fish; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 thinly sliced vidalia onion; 2 very large ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped; 2 tablespoons finely chopped parlsey; 1 tablespoon chili pepper; 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; sea salt or kosher salt to taste’ 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper; 3/4 cup white wine; 1/2 cup water.

Directions — Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees; coat the bottom of a baking dish that is large enough to accommodate the fish; in a medium sauce pan, heat the remaining oil, toss in the onions and saute them until they are translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, chili pepper, garlic and white pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in the wine and water and return to a simmer for 1 minute. Pour over the fish and bake until the fish starts to flake — about 20 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley.


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