Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Save the Environment: Eat Invasive Fish

Lionfish portraitThere was a Slate article about this topic a few months back, though it focused solely on the lionfish. Now the New York Times reports the "if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em" approach seems to be going mainstream for other invasive species. However there still seem to be some hurdles in getting the culinary world on board:
Cookbooks do not say much about how to filet an Asian carp, which has an unusual bony structure. And even if one developed a taste for, say, European green crab soup, there is nowhere to buy the main ingredient, though it is plentiful in the sea.

To increase culinary demand, Food and Water Watch has teamed up with the James Beard Foundation and Kerry Heffernan, the chef at the South Gate restaurant in New York City, to devise recipes using the creatures. At a recent tasting, there was Asian carp ceviche and braised lionfish filet in brown butter sauce.

Lionfish, it turns out, looks hideous but tastes great. The group had to hire fishermen to catch animals commonly regarded as pests. Mr. Heffernan said he would consider putting them on his menu and was looking forward to getting some molting European green crabs to try in soft-shell crab recipes.
There is at least a lionfish cookbook. It's easy to be skeptical of this kind of thing, but it would be pretty sweet if we could harness our ravenous appetite for fish to actually help the environment for a change.