An Italian Menu for Good Friday

 If you are looking for a delicious Fish Fry Menu with an Italian Flare I've got you covered for this weekend! I shared these recipes on CTV Kitchener and I think everyone agreed that the would happily enjoy these recipes anytime, not just for Easter weekend. Traditionally in our home, Good Friday is when we enjoy a delicious crispy fish fry so here is the batter we use and you can batter any fish or veggies you like in it! 

Start your meal off the Ricotta Ball soup and of course a sweet ending of Ricotta Cannoli cannot be missed. Happy Easter to all and Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Fried Mixed Fish

This light batter creates a golden, crisp coating for any fish. My mom also uses this batter to coat calamari. This is a great recipe for fish and chips for anytime of the year, too.

6 cups (1.5 L) canola oil

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemon zest

Pinch of  pepper

1 cup (250 mL) sparkling water or club soda 

2 lb (1 kg) fish fillets, such as cod or haddock

1 lb (450 g) large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

8–10 lemon wedges

In a deep fryer or large deep saucepan heat oil to 350°F (180°C).

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and pepper. Whisk in water until smooth; set aside. 

Cut cod into 3-inch (8 cm) chunks. Pat shrimp and cod dry with paper towel.

Dip each fish fillet into batter, letting excess drip back into bowl. Place a few pieces at a time, in batches into deep fryer and fry for about 3 minutes or until golden, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fish and seafood. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 8 to10 servings.

Tip: You can keep the fish warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for up to 30 minutes.

Ricotta Ball Soup

Dumplings can be made with so many different ingredients and each culture I believe has one. This southern Italian favourite always hit the spot during the cold winter months while we waiting for spring to arrive. As Easter bounces around the calendar, this soup can be made anytime. Traditionally a starter soup to the easter meal, it is light and flavourful. The ricotta balls are moist and delicate and make spooning the soup into your mouth that much more enjoyable.

8 cups (2 L) chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tub (475 g) ricotta

1 cup dry Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (approx)

1 large egg 

1/3 cup (80 mL) grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt 

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring chicken broth and 3 tbsp (50 mL) of the parsley to boil; reduce heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together ricotta, breadcrumbs, and mozzarella cheese, remaining parsley, Parmesan cheese and salt until mixture sticks together. Add more breadcrumbs if necessary to keep mixture together. 

Using a 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry measure, scoop out ricotta mixture and gently shape into balls. Using a slotted spoon, place ricotta balls into chicken broth. Return stock to a gentle boil; cook for about 10 minutes or until ricotta balls are firm throughout.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Ricotta Cannoli

There are so many variations for cannoli filling that you can create different varieties as you are making them! You can buy the cannoli shells in most grocery stores but will always find them in an Italian deli or grocer. I love making a bunch and then sneaking one out of the fridge to enjoy with an espresso before guests arrive. They are a perfect little pick me up together. These are so easy you will be making them every weekend for guests and family. You can vary your filling by using candied mixed fruit, chopped glazed cherries or lemon zest. And for Easter, I chopped up some mini eggs to use instead of the chocolate chips!

1 tub (475 g) smooth ricotta cheese

1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) miniature chocolate chips

1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract

18–24 small cannoli shells


18–24 maraschino cherry halves or halved mini eggs (optional)

2 tsp (10 mL) icing sugar

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and icing sugar until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Pipe or spoon ricotta mixture into shells. Place 1 maraschino cherries half on each end of cannoli, if using. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (The longer they are refrigerated the softer the cannoli shell will get.)

Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. 

Makes 18 to 24 cannoli.

Tip: Look for cannoli shells packed in a single layer for less breakage. Most bakeries carry cannoli shells, if they are not on store shelves simply ask at the counter and they may be able to order them for you.


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