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How Would You Cook a Snakehead?

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December 03, 2012

How Would You Cook a Snakehead?

By David Draper

One of the coolest things to come out of the rise of the foodie is people’s willingness to try food that would have been considered gross just a decade ago (Think offal.) It’s also given chefs free rein to try new things in the kitchen, knowing they can put it on the menu and some brave eater will try it, if only to one-up their friends. I’m thinking that’s what’s going on here as some intrepid chefs in the Northeast have tackled the snakehead, an invasive species that has been terrorizing fisheries biologists for the past few years.

From MSN.com:
“With a reputation as fearsome as its name, the voracious snakehead fish has intruded throughout much of the Potomac River basin in Virginia and Maryland in the last decade, snapping up anything that gets in front of it.

Putting the torpedo-shaped snakehead on the menu is Washington-area restaurants' way of helping to control the Asian newcomer. Chefs said they have a key weapon on their side - humans' zest for eating up other species to the vanishing point.

"When man turns its attention to an animal, it's very difficult for the animal. He (the snakehead) is dangerous, but chefs are more dangerous," said David Stein, executive chef at Tony & Joe's Seafood Place in Washington.

He praised the snakehead for its dense, meaty, white flesh with a mild taste that is ideal for anything from grilling to sauteing. But given the name, snakehead ceviche might be going too far.

"The guy that orders that gets it for free," Stein said.

I wish I lived nearby as I would definitely try snakehead ceviche, as long as there was a cold Pacifico and shot of tequila to wash it down with.

How about you, would you eat something called a snakehead? If so, how would you cook it?

Comments (14)

Top Rated
All Comments
from rock rat wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

It's a common fish in Asia. I've had it rolled in rock salt then deep fried. Steamed with lemon grass and kafir lime, and fermented into padek. It's just fish. If it were strong tasting there would be an issue but it's mild so you can do anything with it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

After looking at a snake head, I think I'd start with a gallon of gas....then go get a burger.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Snakeheads are delicious in the same way flounder is delicious, it is a very mild flavor, people usually like when they get over the look of the fish and they try the meat. It is yummy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MaxPower wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Filet and deep-fry. No one can argue with that combo.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Well to be honest they're only here because they are good to eat, the orientals brought them over because they're a delicacey. So yes I'd eat snakehead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I think i would start with tenderizing it with a rock, and let it bake in the sun before it marinates in a buzzards stomach before it becomes fertilizer for a corn field. The corn will be fed to cows and turned into beef which would become a delicious grilled steak for me. Thats how i would cook it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kansasjeff wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

quick and simple recipe:
Gut and stuff the cavity with banana leaves.
cover with sea salt paste
wrap in more banana leaves
grill
eat

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Humans will eat anything...snails, pickled pigs feet, grasshoppers, rattlesnakes, brains. A Game Warden I knew very well told me of a case where he stopped a car travelling on a dirt road in the woods one time suspecting the occupants had poached a deer. He got them to open up the trunk, and there was a deer they'd poached, and had spit open the skull, and had eaten most of the brains raw. Said he came close to vomiting right there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Luckily for me, I live about 45 minutes from DC. I am going to have to stop in and order the ceviche. But I would definitely take the fillets and cook them up the way I do our local strippers. I put them in aluminum foil, throw in a few pads of butter and cover in Old Bay seasoning and throw them on the grill. Nothing more appropriate then to cover them in our local seasoning. In a pinch, when I have used all the Old Bay for steaming crabs and shrimp (gasp! Sometimes I DO run out) I used Seasoned Salt. Served with some rice and Natty Boh (another regional favorite hon!)you can't go wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I am not sure where they buy the snakeheads but I cant believe they sell anything from the Potomac River---God knows what you would come down with.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Eat that snakehead ceviche, and your eyes light up at night from all the PCB's. Great nite vision though. A lot like those Antelope wearing the nite vision goggles that spot the lion approaching them in the middle of the nite on the TV commercial.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Flamethrower.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vbxtc wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I you are willing (read: stupid enough) to eat raw fish from the Potomac downstream of DC then you get what you deserve. I know snakeheads are great gamefish, and put up a heck of a fight, but eating anything from the Potomac without cooking it is literally taking your life in your hands.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fogforest wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Yeah its a mild fish. Just about the most flexible ingredient you can work with.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

After looking at a snake head, I think I'd start with a gallon of gas....then go get a burger.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from kansasjeff wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

quick and simple recipe:
Gut and stuff the cavity with banana leaves.
cover with sea salt paste
wrap in more banana leaves
grill
eat

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I am not sure where they buy the snakeheads but I cant believe they sell anything from the Potomac River---God knows what you would come down with.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Eat that snakehead ceviche, and your eyes light up at night from all the PCB's. Great nite vision though. A lot like those Antelope wearing the nite vision goggles that spot the lion approaching them in the middle of the nite on the TV commercial.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Flamethrower.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

It's a common fish in Asia. I've had it rolled in rock salt then deep fried. Steamed with lemon grass and kafir lime, and fermented into padek. It's just fish. If it were strong tasting there would be an issue but it's mild so you can do anything with it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Snakeheads are delicious in the same way flounder is delicious, it is a very mild flavor, people usually like when they get over the look of the fish and they try the meat. It is yummy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MaxPower wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Filet and deep-fry. No one can argue with that combo.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dbetzner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Well to be honest they're only here because they are good to eat, the orientals brought them over because they're a delicacey. So yes I'd eat snakehead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I think i would start with tenderizing it with a rock, and let it bake in the sun before it marinates in a buzzards stomach before it becomes fertilizer for a corn field. The corn will be fed to cows and turned into beef which would become a delicious grilled steak for me. Thats how i would cook it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Humans will eat anything...snails, pickled pigs feet, grasshoppers, rattlesnakes, brains. A Game Warden I knew very well told me of a case where he stopped a car travelling on a dirt road in the woods one time suspecting the occupants had poached a deer. He got them to open up the trunk, and there was a deer they'd poached, and had spit open the skull, and had eaten most of the brains raw. Said he came close to vomiting right there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Luckily for me, I live about 45 minutes from DC. I am going to have to stop in and order the ceviche. But I would definitely take the fillets and cook them up the way I do our local strippers. I put them in aluminum foil, throw in a few pads of butter and cover in Old Bay seasoning and throw them on the grill. Nothing more appropriate then to cover them in our local seasoning. In a pinch, when I have used all the Old Bay for steaming crabs and shrimp (gasp! Sometimes I DO run out) I used Seasoned Salt. Served with some rice and Natty Boh (another regional favorite hon!)you can't go wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vbxtc wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I you are willing (read: stupid enough) to eat raw fish from the Potomac downstream of DC then you get what you deserve. I know snakeheads are great gamefish, and put up a heck of a fight, but eating anything from the Potomac without cooking it is literally taking your life in your hands.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fogforest wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Yeah its a mild fish. Just about the most flexible ingredient you can work with.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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