There’s no doubt that lionfish are beautiful to watch; their striped bodies make them a standout in the water. But, this species, native to Indo-Pacific waters, has become a threat on the western side of the world.
Since their introduction to the Atlantic waters, lionfish have quickly made their way to the top of the food chain and are putting other marine life at risk.
While nobody really knows how this Indo-Pacific species found its way into the Atlantic waters, there’s no doubt that they have become an invasive species that needs to be dealt with.
More and more divers, snorkelers, and fishermen alike are being encouraged to hunt lionfish in an effort to deplete the population and save the local Atlantic ecosystems. An additional perk to saving our reefs?
Lion fish taste good. Really good. And, thanks to plenty of great online lionfish recipes, you can even try it at home.
Sure, it sounds strange, eating a pest that is known to be venomous. But, while venomous, lionfish aren’t poisonous and as long as you get rid of the spines, there is no risk.
The flesh itself does not contain any toxins. Lionfish are also good for you; more so than the usual tuna, wahoo, or snapper that are often served in restaurants.
They have less mercury, are lower in saturated fats, and have higher Omega 3 fatty acids.
Ready to give it a try? Here are some easy online lionfish recipes that you can make yourself.
From: Emily Marcus via Cooking Channel
- 4 fillets of lionfish
- ¼ tsp garlic salt
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tep paprika
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 tbs butter (cubed)
Preheat a grill and place two lionfish fillets each on the center of two 10×10 inch aluminum foil squares. Combine the spices into a bowl and coat both side of the lionfish fillets. Add the butter cubes to the top of the fillets and wrap tightly in the foil squares. Cook on the girl for about 6 minutes, or until the fish is tender and flakey. Emily suggests serving potato salad on the side.
Lionfish with Mango and Sweet Pepper Salsa
- 1 1/3 cups of chopped mango
- 1 cup chopped sweet peppers
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice
- 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbs + 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh Key lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 6-ounce skinless lionfish fillets
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- nonstick cooking spray
Salsa: Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss gently. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. If longer, place in the fridge.
Fish: Combine olive oil, key lime juice, and garlic in a shallow, glass baking dish. Stir and whisk. Add the fish to the mixture and turn them to coat each piece. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray and prepare for a medium-high heat.
Remove fish from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill until flaky; about 3 minutes each side.
Serve with fresh salsa.
From: Chef Tim Tibbitts of Flying Fish Bahamas via Crave Local
- 2lbs lionfish fillets; steamed, flaked, and cooled
- 1 medium size red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup green onion or chives, finely sliced
- ½ cup sweet yellow pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup sweet red pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- zest from 2 lemons
- 3 tbs chili paste
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups of Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbs of vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine: lionfish, red onion, green onion, sweet peppers, parsley, lemon zest, chili paste, eggs, and panko. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. When the mixture starts to come together, make 3-4 ounce balls. Squeeze firmly to stick together then press flat to make a fish cake and set on a sheet pan. When you have used all of the mixture to create the fish cakes, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the vegetable oil into a large, non-stick skillet pan and set to medium high heat. Place the lionfish cakes in the pan (make sure not to crowd them) and cook until browned on each side. Remove cakes from pan and place back onto sheet pan. Bake fish cakes at 375F for 10 minutes.
From: Bahamas Food Services
- 2 lbs of lionfish fillets
- 16 6” flour tortillas
- ½ red cabbage, finely shredded
- ½ red pepper, julienned
- green bell pepper, julienned
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 ½ bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 fresh limes
- sea salt
- black pepper
- white flour (for dredging)
In a large bowl, combine: cabbage, peppers, jalapeno, garlic, scallions, ¾ cup of the cilantro, juice from remaining lime, salt and pepper. Mix well then add sour cream and mix again. When slaw mixture is to taste and fully incorporated, cover and set aside.
Preheat deep fryer oil to 350F and wash lionfish in water and the juice of half a lime. Rinse thoroughly in fresh water. Squeeze the other half of the lime over the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut 1 lime into wedges and set aside.
Dredge each fish piece in flour. Add to deep fryer and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Warm the tortillas and fill them with slaw mixture, fried fish fillets, garnish with reserved cilantro and serve with fresh lime wedges.
Lionfish is still a relatively new food that you won’t find recipes for in your typical cookbooks. There are plenty of online lionfish recipes, but if you really love the taste then consider getting yourself a copy of The Lionfish Cookbook.