For quite a few folks in south Louisiana, Lent has arrived, and that means no meat on Fridays.

Living near the Gulf and with so many freshwater fishing ponds around, this isn’t really a hardship.

Another plus is that most fresh fish and seafood dishes don’t need much work to be turned into a great meal in just a few minutes.

I’m always looking for fast and easy dishes to make on Friday evenings because, like most people, I’m ready to relax and unwind from the busy work week.

Usually by Friday, my Lenten promise of patience has been good and tested. And the last thing I want to do is stress over what to cook for dinner or wait to be seated at a restaurant — and I really love to eat out.

I love a good fish almondine, a staple at many Southern seafood restaurants, and my catfish almondine recipe is quick to prepare and requires just a few simple ingredients.

The result is a near-restaurant quality dish perfect for when the restaurant just isn’t an option. Fresh local or regionally caught catfish is essential to making this dish live up to expectations.

Roasted asparagus is a simple side that makes a tasty complement to the light flavors of the fish. Be careful not to overcook those bright green spears; you want them to keep their color. Just add a little olive oil and crunchy kosher salt, and you’re done.

Even if you aren’t observing Lent, the few weeks between holidays and school breaks are a great time to slow down and take stock of what’s important. Sometimes, relaxing and sharing a simple meal with family and friends is all we need to refresh ourselves.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at