Sunday, March 28, 2010

Feeding Detroit: Sweetest Heart of Mary Fish Fry

On Friday, it was my turn to help out at the Lenten fish fry at my sister parish, Sweetest Heart of Mary. This annual event started about five or six years ago when the parish started having a fish fry. My parish, St. Josaphat, clustered with Sweetest Heart of Mary in 2003 and I have met so many wonderful people there. The SHM fish fry is unique in many ways. In addition to the traditional fried cod, they also offer baked flounder, pierogi (they make their own), soup, macaroni and cheese, a salad bar and every Friday there is a special of the day. (Pictured: the ladies are getting the bread ready for the tables prior to opening for the day.)

Last year, Fr. Mark asked me if I would consider cooking one of the Friday specials. I was happy to and thought that instead of offering another seafood dish, I would make a favorite dish of my mom's - spinach lasagna. Mom made this lasagna many times, not necessarily for Lent, but every now and again. So, last year I made three pans (36 servings) and it all sold. This year's fish fry was even busier than last year's - word is getting out about this wonderful event - so I made four pans (48 servings) for this year. I'm glad I did! The SHM fish fry opens at 3:00pm and closes at 8:00pm, and by 6:30pm, and we served our last piece of spinach lasagna at 6:30pm! Who knows, maybe next year I'll need to make five pans! (pictured: the kitchen crew is busy filling orders during one of the dinner rushes before Stations of the Cross.)
A lot of people always ask about how the lasagna is made. Like most pasta dishes, it starts with the sauce. Everyone has their own sauce recipe, and I was never sure what my mom put in her sauce, but I used to watch her put it together. I made about four gallons of sauce, not only for putting the lasagna together, but for putting on top of it when it's served. Then, I use frozen chopped spinach, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and Barilla lasagna noodles (the no-bake thing since sliced bread!). All told, there are four layers of cheesy spinach goodness. (Pictured: the spinach lasagna waiting to go out of the kitchen)

Putting this much of anything together requires a bit of an assembly line, and my dad and sister are always in the kitchen with me helping out on all these crazy projects I get involved in. But, when people come together to enjoy good food and each other's company, it really doesn't feel like work at all. This coming Friday - Good Friday - is the last fish fry. There won't be any spinach lasagna this week, but there will be lots of good people and lots of good food. Sweetest Heart of Mary is at the corner of Russell and Canfield in Detroit and the fish fry is from 3pm to 8pm. Stations of the Cross takes place at 6:30pm - if you've never been there, I think you'll agree that it's one of Detroit's most beautiful churches. (Pictured: pan one of four filled with spinach lasagna for the fish fry)

1 comment:

  1. makes me want to make a trip to Detroit for a fish fry.