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The venomous lionfish, an invasive species that has ravaged coral reef ecosystems in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and East Coast, has one real predator: humans. And area chefs have been doing what they can to help in the efforts to control its spread—by serving it.
Xavier Deshayes, the executive chef of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, is about to head to the Bahamas to hunt down some buttery lionfish and bring them back to D.C. to serve at an upcoming three-course sustainable seafood dinner hosted in conjunction with the National Aquarium next month.
While the lionfish invasion may be off the radar of most seafood consumers, it’s been developing a higher profile, thanks to chefs who care about sustainable seafood.
The Washington Post‘s Juliet Eilperin reported last year:
Ripple chef Teddy Diggs said he’s experimenting with lionfish, curing it in lemon juice and salt to create a garnish for a zucchini and summer squash soup. His customers loved it, as did he after he sauteed it in brown butter, drizzled a little vinegar on it and served it over greens. “I’m looking forward to using it,” Diggs said. “The availability is the issue.”
The first lionfish dinner is scheduled for March 3 at the National Aquarium. Chef Barton Seaver, a National Geographic fellow, will host the second dinner on April 20. Tickets are $79 for members and $89 for non-members; the evening will include a cocktail reception, three-course dinner, wine pairings and a private tour of the aquarium. Click here for more information and for reservations.
Also, here’s a recipe for lionfish romesco stew, in case you somehow manage to bring lionfish into your home kitchen.
Wikimedia photo using an Attribution 2.5 Generic Creative Commons license