Good Friday 2023: 7 Traditional Fish Recipe Ideas For Supper
Image Credit: Image used for representative purpose. Image courtesy: Signe Johansen/

Christians all over the world, irrespective of their denomination, practice fasting and abstinence on Good Friday. In case you didn’t know, Good Friday commemorates the day when Jesus Christ was crucified by the Romans at Calvary, near Jerusalem. Since Christ sacrificed his own flesh and body for the sins of mankind on this day, Christians honour this sacrifice by fasting, praying and abstaining from eating meat on Good Friday. Instead, breaking the fast and having simple meals with fish is compulsory on Good Friday. 

If you are observing Good Friday 2023, then knowing which fish dishes to consume is very important. Since Christians have been following this concept of eating fish on Fridays and Good Friday for ages now, there are plenty of traditional fish recipes you can easily cook up for yourself and the family on that day. But because the idea behind Good Friday is to practice abstinence, remember that these traditional fish recipes should be simple and nourishing instead of overindulgent, luxurious and too festive.  

While that may seem restrictive to you, it also makes cooking up these fish recipes so much easier. To help you sort this out, we have below a number of traditional fish ideas for supper. But being fish-based isn’t all that these dishes have in common. They are also quite hassle-free and easy to cook up. Check them out. 

Sardines On Toast 

For most Christians, breaking the fast during the period of Lent and on Good Friday with a combination of fish and bread has been a tradition since ancient times. Sardines on toast is the perfect recipe to do this with. Originating in Spain, this simple recipe requires you to cook garlic, red chillies and sardines in olive oil with some salt, pepper and lemon zest. The fish should then be placed on toasted brown bread and topped with some chopped parsley and lemon juice. This easy dish is filling and perfect for Good Friday supper. 

Fish Chowder 

A dish originating in medieval France, chowder gets its name from the fact that it was traditionally cooked in a kind of bucket called Chaudiere. The stew is usually prepared with clams, fish and other seafood, making it perfect for Good Friday supper. To make fish chowder, you need to cook sliced onions, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and potatoes in a pot with heated butter or oil. Add water and cream and cook until the potatoes turn soft, then add the fish in. Once the fish is cooked, the fish chowder should be rested for at least 30 minutes before serving. This simple fish chowder is soul nourishing and light on the palate. 

Haddock In White Sauce 

The British Museum says this dish was created in fifteenth-century England particularly for the periods of Lent and Good Friday. While the more expensive version of the dish calls for saffron, the poorer or stricter Christians always chose to skip the saffron, making the sauce white instead of yellow or orange. To make the recipe, poach the haddock in some salted water. Meanwhile, make a sauce by blending fried onions, breadcrumbs, pepper and ale in a grinder. Add the poached fish to this sauce in a bowl and enjoy the light supper dish. 

Fish & Chips 

Invented in sixteenth-century England and eaten extensively on all Fridays and not just Good Friday, fish and chips is often believed to be Britain’s national dish. You can easily make the fish by coating the fillets in an egg-based batter, a beer-based batter or first in eggs and then in flour before deep frying them in oil. Because it is deep fried, many people avoid making fish and chips for Good Friday if they are focusing on their weight. The chips on the side are usually made with potatoes, but you can also go for healthier options like carrot or cucumber sticks. 

Image used for representative purpose. Image courtesy: Pinterest/Widya

Grilled Snapper & Mash 

Grilled fish has been a part of European cuisines, whether it’s French or Italian or Spanish, for centuries now. So, there is no one homogenous recipe for grilled snapper out there. You can easily coat some snapper with salt and pepper and grill it on a pan with butter or olive oil. Adding garlic cloves and herbs like rosemary or thyme can make the flavour of the dish more nuanced. For the mash, you can go with simple potatoes or more nutritious peas, cauliflower, carrots and beets. 

Lentil Fish Stew 

Legend has it that the recipe for this simple, nourishing fish stew was first recorded by Alexander Neckam, the Abbot of Cirencester, England during the Middle Ages. Neckam and other Christian hermits of the time considered this lentil fish stew to be a healing dish and perfect for Good Friday. To make it, carrots and leeks should be cooked in butter. Then ale, parsley, lentils and water should be added with salt and pepper, and cooked until the lentils are soft. Finally, the fish pieces should be added and cooked until they turn flaky.  

Pan-Fried Sole 

This fish dish comes from medieval Italy, which is in turn derived from a fifth century collection of recipes in Latin called Apici Excerpta a Vinidario. A variety of fish can be used to cook it up, ranging from soles and mullets to anchovies. The fish fillet needs to be simply fried in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper while a simple sauce is made with ingredients like black pepper, asafoetida, coriander powder, white wine vinegar, olive oil, date juice and herbs like organo and rue to serve with it. You can also bake or air-fry the fish if you want to make this medieval dish healthy.