While there's angst and concern over our waters after the recent fish die-off in Brevard county in the Indian River Lagoon
, invasive species continue to plague the warmer, more tropical waters to our south.
Chef Hari Pulapaka, who recently cooked at the James Beard House in New York City (an honor bestowed only to a handful of chefs throughout the year), has been incorporating invasive lionfish into his tasting menus at his restaurant Cress in DeLand
Lionfish are often bought as pets, and when they get too big and unwieldy to keep at home, their owners release them into the oceans and saltwater tributaries around the state. The lionfish have thrived there, and have, unfortunately, destroyed whole reefs and ocean ecosystems with their voracious eating habits.
Chef Pulapaka's lionfish dish at the James Beard House was a pan-roasted filet with Creole spices, grits, roasted romanesco cauliflower
and fresh citrus beurre blanc.
Basically, what we're saying is that by eating lionfish, you're doing something good for our environment, which is totally apropos since Earth Day is next Friday, April 22.
Love to fish even more than you love to eat? There are lionfish-catching derbies in the Florida Keys and Sarasota, starting in July