Can this really be penance if I enjoy it so much? (April 10, 2011)

By Joseph M. Donadieu
Sometimes I wonder whether it is really penitential to sit down and eat meatless dishes that are so flavorful, satisfying and enjoyable. To be specific, this week’s meatless, easy-to-fix Lenten dish from Jody Finn of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Maple Shade, is elegant and exciting.

Her recipe for Flounder Florentine is simple and easy to prepare. It takes little time and less effort.

Before we made it for this feature, we had tried it several times at gatherings of deacons and their wives in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, where Jody’s husband Larry is one of the deacons.

 

 

Flounder Florentine
– 4 large flounder filets
– 1 bag fresh spinach, cleaned, blanched and roughly chopped
– 2-3 tbs grated Romano cheese
– 2-3 tbs Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
– white or black pepper to taste
– garlic powder
– 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
– 1 tbs olive oil

Blanch the fresh spinach in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes; be sure it is totally drained and chop it roughly. When the spinach is drained, put oil in a large frying pan and sauté spinach seasoned with garlic powder and pepper for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and add all but a teaspoon of Romano cheese and mix to incorporate flavor of the cheese in the spinach, then add all but a teaspoon of breadcrumbs and mix well until the “stuffing” is thickened but still moist.

In a casserole dish large enough for two of the filets to fit snugly, pour just enough Alfredo sauce to cover the bottom. Place two of the flounder filets in the dish, top them with all of the spinach “stuffing.” Place the remaining two pieces of fish on the spinach and spread the remaining Alfredo sauce over the fish.

Mix the remaining Romano cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top. Cover the dish tightly and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). Check after 30 minutes to see whether more baking time is needed but do not over cook.

Serve and enjoy with a salad sprinkled with chopped nuts and crispy bread.

If you would like to make your own Alfredo sauce, it’s really pretty easy. It’s basically butter, cheese and salt and pepper. Even this one with reduced calories is easy.

Alfredo Sauce
– 1 tbs butter
– 1 cup of milk
– 1/2 cup low fat yogurt
– 1/2 cup grated Paremesan or Romano cheese
– 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
– nutmeg and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add milk and wisk in the cornstarch until it begins to thicken. Add the yougurt, cheese, pepper and nutmeg.

Let us pray
Lord Jesus, may our Lenten fast turn us toward all our brothers and sisters who are in need. Bless this table, our good food and us. Send us through Lent with good cheer and bring us to the fullness of your Passover. Amen.

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