Although the end of the fish fry season is upon us today, I wanted to call some attention to the St. Louis institution that is the Lenten Fish Fry.  Most local Catholic parishes offer fish fries to the parishioners and other neighborhood residents each Friday during lent.  It is standard Catholic practice to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, which lasts 40 days.  Lent begins after Fat Tuesday each winter and ends on Easter each April.  That yields 6 opportunities for fish fry enthusiasts to partake each spring.

The standard fare at fish fries is fried cod and comfort food sides such as mac and cheese, green beans, and french fries etc. all served cafeteria style.  I’m a regular at St. Gabriel’s fish fry in St. Louis Hills and they go beyond the standard, although their cod is fantastic.  They offer cod both fried and baked, fried jack salmon, and fried shrimp.  They have the standard sides plus a couple of different types of noodles, cole slaw, and apple sauce as well.  All this with a drink and desert is what you get for only $8.  All the money goes to the parish, which I believe to be a good cause.  Sometimes the line can be long and some of the volunteers will hand out free beer to those who might want one!

As I said, most parishes offer fish fries and so there are many to choose from.  One that everyone should experience once is the fish fry at St. Cecilia’s in Dutchtown.  St. Cecilia’s has a sizable Mexican population within their parish and so the fish fry has a decidedly Mexican theme.  On top of the standard fare you’ll find at other fish fries St. Cecilia’s offers Mexican food such as chile rellenos, nachos, and Mexican beer.  Chile rellenos are peppers that are stuffed with Mexican cheese and deep fried.  Again the lines can be long but they offer entertainment in the form of Mariachi bands and traditional Mexican dancing to liven things up during the wait.  At one point last year St. Cecilia’s was gaining national attention for offering such a unique experience and CNN was on site to film for a story.

I’m sure there are other interesting options for fish fries in St. Louis and I’d love to hear about them so I can plan for next season!