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4 Invasive Species Recipes to Serve the Environment and Dinner, Too

Blackened Snakehead with Piña Colada Salsa and Strawberries From Chad Wells 1½ tbs paprika ¾ tbs granulated garlic 1 tbs onion powder 1 tbs dried thyme 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp kosher salt 1 snakehead filet, skinned 1 pineapple, diced 1 can cream of coconut ½ bunch cilantro, chopped 1 habanero pepper Roasted red peppers, strawberries, and avocado for garnish Snakehead Mix first nine ingredients in a small bowl. Cut snakehead into four pieces. Towel off excess moisture, and coat each piece generously with seasoning. Sautee over high heat for three minutes. If not cooked fully, bake at 400 degrees for 3–5 minutes, depending on thickness. Piña colada salsa Combine pineapple and cilantro. In a separate bowl, stir cream of coconut until smooth. Add six tbs of cream of coconut to pineapple-cilantro mixture. Add diced habanero if desired. Plate fish atop salsa and garnish with roasted red peppers, strawberries, and avocado.
Wikipedia

Eating invasive species can reduce their numbers and provide a meal at the same time.

Invasive species are just that: invasive. They do not belong and are taking over the habitats of native species. Eating invasive species is a great way to get rid of them, and they taste great! There is a movement for eating them (and even a few websites dedicated to controlling these species through cooking!). The following recipes come from eattheinvaders.org.

Here are a few recipes for those who plan on eating invasive species.

Wild boar:

eating invasive species
Wikipedia

They were introduced as a food source years ago and escaped into the wild. Now, they are all over the place, eating native plants and competing with native species for food. The good news is that pigs taste great.

Wild Boar Tenderloin with Asparaus

Adapted from Hank Shaw, Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook (honest-food.net)

This recipe combines springtime veggies and a perfect meat for spring — wild boar tenderloin. The only hard part is making the sauce, and that isn’t so much difficult as it is time-consuming. And the sauce can be made up to a day ahead. After that, this dish comes together very quickly, so if you have this sauce ready, you can even do this recipe on a weeknight.

A word on the medium-cooked wild pig. The boar Shaw used had been frozen for some time, which will kill any trichinae parasites should they be present (this is a remote possibility, but better safe than sorry). Should you have fresh pork, be sure to cook it to at least 140 degrees, which will kill the parasite; Shaw cooks his to about 145-150 degrees, which is a blush of pink.

Serves 2

1 pound wild pig tenderloin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Kosher salt
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 green garlic stalks
3 green onion stalks

1. Make the sauce. Get a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it well. it should taste like the sea. Blanch the green garlics and onions, white part down — hold them by the greens in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes. I suppose you could chop them in half and then blanch the two parts separately, but I have not tried this. After the white ends have been in for 3-4 minutes, toss the rest in and let it all boil for 2 minutes.

2. Remove and dump into a large bowl of ice water to cool. Take the veggies out and chop roughly. Put the green onions and green garlics into a food processor and buss the hell out of them, scraping down the sides from time to time. It will take a bit of doing to incorporate, but you will eventually get a bright green puree.

3. Now the hard part. Push the puree through a tamis or fine-meshed sieve. This will take some effort. Take your time and keep at it for about 10 minutes or so, or until there are only fibers in the mesh. Save the strained puree for now.

4. Salt the pork pieces well and set aside.

5. Turn on the broiler.

6. Using the tablespoon of olive oil, coat the asparagus well and then salt them.

7. Put one tablespoon of butter in a saute pan set on high heat. When the butter melts, turn the heat down to medium-high.

8. Put the asparagus under the broiler.

9. Saute the tenderloin over medium-high heat, turning to hit all sides. You are looking for medium here — just a blush of pink. When the tenderloins are about done, remove the asparagus (the timing should work out.)

10. Pour the green onion/garlic puree into a small pot and add the other tablespoon of butter, set of medium-low heat and swirl to combine. Do not let this boil. Add salt to taste.

11. Let the boar rest while the sauce heats up. The second the sauce begins to bubble, turn off the heat and lay down some sauce on the plate. Top with the asparagus, and then with the tenderloin cut thinly.

Lionfish

eating invasive species
Wikipedia

These poisonous fish are taking over the Florida keys and other island waters. They taste great though! This is one that should be on your list for eating invasive species.

Beer-Battered Lionfish

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dill pickle, minced
2 tb lemon juice
1 tb fresh dill
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup beer
1 ts garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 fillets lionfish
Oil for frying

Combine first four ingredients in bowl and mix until blended. Combine flour, beer, garlic powder, and pepper in a separate bowl. Cut lionfish fillets into strips. Heat oil in frying pan. When oil is hot, dredge fish through beer batter, covering the entire fish fillet. Put fish into hot oil and cook until the other side is golden brown. Place a paper towel on a plate to absorb excess oil and transfer cooked fish to plate. Serve with dill tartar sauce.

Asian Carp

eating invasive species
Wikipedia

One of the most well-known invasive species because of their jumping abilities. With so many of them, they are a great candidate for eating invasive species.

Fajitas Carpitas

Adapted from Duane Chapman

Serves 5

2 pounds deboned Asian carp pieces
10 soft tortillas, fajita size

Ingredients for the marinade
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fajita toppings
salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, or shredded lettuce

1. Mix ingredients for fajita marinade in a large resealable bag.

2. Marinate carp pieces in fridge for at least 1 hr.

2. Grill fillets with a fish basket or aluminum mesh. (If you’re careful, this is not necessary, as carp is quite firm.)

3. Place grilled fish in covered bowl and deliver to table.

4. Let diners construct their own Fajitas Carpitas from the toppings.

Snakehead

eating invasive species
Wikipedia

Don’t let their looks fool you, they actually taste amazing. Here is a great way to prepare them.

Blackened Snakehead with Piña Colada Salsa and Strawberries
From Chad Wells

1½ tbs paprika
¾ tbs granulated garlic
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt

1 snakehead filet, skinned

1 pineapple, diced
1 can cream of coconut
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 habanero pepper

Roasted red peppers, strawberries, and avocado for garnish

Snakehead
Mix first nine ingredients in a small bowl.

Cut snakehead into four pieces. Towel off excess moisture, and coat each piece generously with seasoning.

Sautee over high heat for three minutes. If not cooked fully, bake at 400 degrees for 3–5 minutes, depending on thickness.

Piña colada salsa
Combine pineapple and cilantro.

In a separate bowl, stir cream of coconut until smooth. Add six tbs of cream of coconut to pineapple-cilantro mixture. Add diced habanero if desired.

Plate fish atop salsa and garnish with roasted red peppers, strawberries, and avocado.

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4 Invasive Species Recipes to Serve the Environment and Dinner, Too