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Tempura Lionfish and Bean Thread Noodle Salad

A word about Lion Fish

Until the Nineties there had been no sightings of lionfish in the Caribbean or western Atlantic, but some reefs off Florida and South Carolina now harbour 1,000 per acre. Lionfish rodeos, in which spearfishers hunt down the species, frequently harvest 1,400 in a day. Numbers have doubled annually since 2010, and the invasion has spread from the United States throughout all the Caribbean islands to Venezuela, then westward through the Gulf of Mexico.

Nobody knows for sure how the lionfish got here. Some blame it on an incident in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew smashed a seafront aquarium in Florida, releasing lionfish into the wild. It’s more likely the first specimens came in the ballast tanks of ships from distant oceans or were discarded by amateur aquarists who had simply grown bored with them.Seeing them on Soufrière reef, it is hard to see how. Confident of their place in the food chain, they never dart or hide but float gracefully above the coral with their venomous spines extended like a mane and twirl slowly like ballerinas, as if to say: “Look at me.” It has clearly never occurred to them that anyone might take a potshot – pot being the operative word, since a campaign has been launched in St Lucia by the Department of Fisheries, dive operators and others to encourage fishermen to catch lionfish and sell them to local restaurants.

WHY?

The Lionfish has been a terrible plague to the Caribbean especially, being called the worst invasive marine species in history. With reefs already suffering from climate change and bleaching, Lionfish are predatory fish that feed on smaller reef fish. They’ve been known to wipe out entire reef fish populations. The problem is that here in the Caribbean, the Lionfish has no natural predators, so they’re going on eating and reproducing unchecked. Actually, it’s said Giant Grouper can be predators to Lionfish, but there are no longer sufficient numbers of them here in the Caribbean to really make a difference. The solution: Have them on every restaurant menu. The fact is they are delicious.

Ingredients yields 4 Servings

  • 6 ounces wide bean thread noodles
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2oz soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large cucumber julienned
  • 12 oz lionfish filet
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 cup torn fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted cashew nuts, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
  • 2cup of tempura batter

Preparation

Place noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let noodles soak until tender but not mushy, 15?20 minutes; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and pepper in another large bowl. Add soy sauce, cucumber, and carrots; toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.

Fry the marinated lionfish with tempura pad try and keep warm

Add noodles, oil, half of cilantro, and half of cashew to bowl; toss to combine. Top salad with lionfish filet remaining cilantro and cashew.

Tempura batter

  • 1cup cornstarch
  • 14 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  1. In bowl mix first 5 ingredients;
  2. Add water and egg and then mix to a smooth creamy batter.