Lent in Louisiana means restaurants around town are well-stocked with seafood, making meatless eating that much easier. But—here’s the catch—sometimes just knowing we’re fasting from meat makes us crave it a little more and seafood a little less.
The good news for those of us who observe Lent: frog, alligator and turtle are all compliant foods … that kind of taste like chicken. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gave reptiles and amphibians the OK as Lenten foods because of their cold-blooded nature. (Hashtag praise the Lord.)
Read on for five dishes to try when seafood alone won’t cut it.
Shrimp and alligator cheesecake from Roux 61
This savory appetizer has a panko bread crumb crust and a cream cheese base, filled with chunks of alligator meat and shrimp. It’s garnished with tomatoes and green onions and drenched in Creole honey sauce. We featured it in our review of Roux 61 in the May 2016 issue, calling it a “party in your mouth.”
Louisiana alligator small plate from The Chimes
With grilled, fried or blackened alligator and a creamy horseradish sauce on the side, the Louisiana alligator small plate is our kind of appetizer—but you’re not gonna want to share it.
Frog Legs Vacherie from Juban’s
Juban’s pairs this appetizer of eight flash-fried frog legs with pickled celery salad and crumbled blue cheese. Lemon-butter hot sauce amps up the flavor.
Frog legs from The Gregory
The Gregory marinates its roasted frog legs in garlic, olive oil and parsley. The appetizer of six jumbo frog legs comes topped with roasted peppers and onions and slathered in barbecue sauce. We featured the dish in our review of The Gregory in the May 2017 issue, where our secret reviewer called them “the highlight of the starters” with a marinade that “penetrated the meat and added juiciness.”
Turtle Soup au Sherry from Galatoire’s Bistro
Galatoire’s cleans and grounds Louisiana snapping turtle in-house for this popular dish. Turtle Soup au Sherry has a thick broth that blends the flavors of light brown roux, beef stock (still Lent-compliant!), tomato, red wine and, yes, sherry. It’s finished off with chopped hard-boiled egg and parsley.