If you’re a Catholic living in South Louisiana, abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent doesn’t always feel like a sacrifice because we live so close to the Gulf of Mexico and in an area rich in Mississippi Delta soil leaving us to enjoy the abundance from both. We also have access to fresh farmers markets and produce stands to cook what’s in season locally and try things from all over the world. Finding new and different Lenten dishes for your family or your guests is easier than ever. Now, giving up dessert for forty days is whole other matter!
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash, dry and roughly chop the kale and place in a large bowl. Shake the olive oil and vinegar together in a bottle. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the kale and toss to coat. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Place the kale on a large cookie sheet. Be careful not to let the kale leaves overlap. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the kale and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is crispy but not too brown.
Portobello & Goat Cheese Croissants with Blackberry Preserves
1 8-ounce package sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 croissants cut in half
4 ounces goat cheese
4 tablespoons blackberry preserves
Sautee the mushrooms in the olive oil until tender, set aside. Heat a griddle to 325. Butter both sides of the croissants. Lightly toast the croissants inside down on the griddle. Flip the croissants and place a few mushrooms topped with a tablespoon or two of goat cheese on each bottom half. Heat until the goat cheese starts to melt. Spoon one tablespoon of blackberry preserves over the goat cheese, top with greens and cover with the croissant top half. Serve warm. Makes four sandwiches.
Lenten Louisiana Lasagna
4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 stick of butter
1 pound Gulf shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails, peeled and cleaned
8 ounces lump Gulf crabmeat
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 2 cups flour
4 cups of milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1/2 pound (9) lasagna noodles
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven. Sautee all the seafood in the 4 tablespoons of butter until the shrimp are slightly pink. Remove from the pan and set aside in a dish lined with paper towels. Melt the one stick of butter in the pot. Brown the garlic slightly in the butter. Add flour and brown two to three minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in one cup of milk at a time until the white sauce has as few lumps as possible. Season with sugar, sea salt and pepper. Reserve 1 cup of the white sauce. Stir the cooked seafood in the pot with the white sauce.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then whisk in the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses with the parsley and Italian seasoning blend. Set aside.
Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Spread 1 cup of white sauce in the bottom of a pan. Arrange 3 cooked lasagna noodles in the pan and spread all of the Ricotta mixture over the noodles, covering completely. Add another layer of noodles. Top with half the seafood and white sauce mixture. Add a third layer of noodles and cover them with the rest of the seafood mixture. Cover the lasagna with all of the mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.