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.
“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?