Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Invasivore > Vegetarian

It's no secret that becoming a vegetarian is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Take it a step further and aim to eat local, in-season produce and you may just get a personal thank you note from Mother Earth. Take it several steps further and you may find yourself stepping outside the vegetarian menu and into a growing culinary trend: eating invasive species.

Thanks to some courageous Baltimore chefs, the option to eat invasive may be coming to a restaurant near you.

Last week, I sat down with 49 other adventurous and environmentally conscious eaters who entered their names into a raffle in hopes to win a seat at Alewife Baltimore's Snakehead Fish dinner. The dinner consisted of four courses centered around the invasive snakehead fish. Chef Joe Edwardsen of Joe Squared, Chef Dave Newman of Brewer's Art, Alewife Executive Chef Chad Wells, and Alewife's Grace Gonzalez each contributed a dish. As you look at their delicious, inspired twists on the fish, consider the fact that consuming these critters helps protect native aquatic life.

Chef Joe Edwardsen's Smoked Snakehead Risotto with Arugula

Chef Dave Newman's Tempura Snakehead and Green Papaya Salad
with Peanuts, Spicy Ginger Aioli and Yuzu Scallion Vinaigrette

Chef Chad Wells' Grilled Snakehead, Chimichurri, Blistered Tomato
Chipotle Mecco Salsa with Black Bean Croquette, Micro Salad,
Orange Cumin Vinaigrette

Grace Gonzalez' Coconut Mousse with Caramel Ginger Sauce,
Tropical Fruit Salsa and Candied Snakehead Skin

As always, the saying goes: Everything in moderation - including moderation. Few human beings can completely restrict their diets to local produce and invasive species alone. Life gets busy, the joy of cooking relegated to holidays and Sundays, we have children with nutritional needs paramount to our ideals, and the organic market closes before you can say, "Is it September already?!" So think of it like this: When given the opportunity to do the best possible thing for the environment, seize the snakehead!


invasivore said...

Awesome pics of the dinner- we hope we can make it next time!

Also, we just stumbled onto your blog via Twitter, and you've got a new fan. Keep up the good work!

Deborah said...

Thank you! Yes yes please do visit often. And definitely stay tuned for updates on the next snakehead dinner.