According to leading authorities from the Ocean Support Foundation, “the lionfish invasion is probably the worst environmental disaster the Atlantic will ever face.”

Today, Lionfish can be found in the Amazon, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the waters near North Carolina, and Bermuda. What’s the threat? They are productive breeders – producing 30,000 eggs at a time. They are voracious eaters – Lionfish stomachs can expand over 30 times in volume when consuming a large meal. In fact, researchers in the field have observed a large adult lionfish consume over 20 small wrasses during a 30 minute period! They are indiscriminate hunters – hunting 90 percent of other fish out of the reefs (especially young juvenille fish). In time, these predators will decrease large populations of other fish species, leading to a detrimental effect on reef ecology and survival of other species competing for food.

How do we help rid the Atlantic of this species? Experts are recommending that humans curtail the lionfish invasion by getting fishermen to catch them and for restaurants to serve them up.

Lionfish are delicious. The flesh is firm and white and they taste like a cross between a hog snapper and a grouper. They can be fried, blackened, or sautéed and are also excellent for sushi and ceviche.

“Once stripped of its venomous spines, cleaned and filleted like
any other fish, the lionfish becomes delectable seafood fare.”
– National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Chef Paul Lawrence is doing his part and shares a tasty way to prepare Lionfish – Lionfish Beurre Blanc with Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  Eat ’em to Beat ’em!

Recipe from Chef Paul Lawrence – The Hickory Stick

Chef Paul Lawrence from Hickory Stick with Seasoned To Taste host Peter Jovetic.

Lionfish fillet
1 red Bell Pepper
1 shallot
White wine
1 lemon
olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the Asparagus: Coat asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until just fork tender.

For Red Pepper Sauce: Cut red pepper in half, remove membrane and seeds. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and roast in a 400F oven until the skin is slightly charred. Remove peppers from oven and immediately place pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes. This will soften the skin and make it easy to peel. Chop a small shallot and cook in a medium pan with a little oil until tender and soft. Roughly chop peeled red pepper and add to the pan with the shallot. Cover with a little white wine and cook; reducing until all the liquid is gone. Place mixture in a blender; add a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm.

Freshly caught Lion Fish. Click on photo to read more about this invasive species.

For the Lion Fish: Season lionfish with a little salt and pepper and pan fry.

For the Beurre Blanc Sauce: Squeeze juice from a lemon into a medium sauce pan and heat. Add cold butter and stir constantly until sauce is thickened making sure not to let mixture boil. Add capers.

To serve: Place lion fish fillet on a plate with the grilled asparagus. Pour some of the beurre blanc sauce over the top of the fish fillet and sprinkle on a few more capers. Spoon red pepper sauce in a circle around the lion fish fillet and over the grilled asparagus. Enjoy!

Gosling’s Wine of The Week
14 Hands Hot to Trot White Blend has been chosen to complement Chef Paul’s Lionfish dish.
This fresh and lively wine reveals aromas of white stone fruits and light citrus floral notes. Flavours of pear, melon and lemon zest are balanced by crisp acidity, ending with a vibrant finish.

The retail price is $19.25 and it’s available at Lindo’s and Gosling’s stores.

Seasoned to Taste – Hosted by Chef Peter Jovetic
An exclusive presentation of Lindo’s Group of Companies
As broadcast on VSB TV11 on April 29th, 2014

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