Can you eat lionfish?
Yes, the invasive lionfish is surprisingly delicious! Not only are they fun to hunt, but they are one of the most tasty fish on the reef. Recently the Monterrey Bay Aquarium added Lionfish to their list of the ‘Best Choice” sustainable fish for consumption. Lionfish have been shown to be higher in heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fats and heavy metals such as mercury.
A common misconception is that lionfish are ‘poisonous’. No, they are venomous, meaning that their spines can sting you, but they are NOT poisonous and the flesh is completely healthy to eat. There has never been a report of anyone getting sick from lionfish, and even the venom in the spines is neutralized in the cooking process, so many restaurants will serve the fish whole for a dazzling presentation.
So, what does lionfish taste like?
Lionfish has a white, flaky meat that is similar (in this writer’s opinion) to snapper. There is no red( blood) line in the flesh and the words we most often hear to describe it are ‘white, flaky, mild, tender, and delicious”.
Is lionfish a sustainable fish?
Yes, absolutely. The best part of eating lionfish (besides the great taste) is that because they are an invasive species in the western Atlantic we are helping the environment and native marine species by harvesting and consuming them. We encourage everyone to ask their local seafood restaurant whenever possible about the availability of lionfish.
We’ve proven time and again that when we turn our stomachs loose onto a species we can have an amazing affect on their population, and when it comes to the lionfish that affect is a net positive for the entire marine environment.
Where can I find lionfish?
As lionfish gains in popularity as a sustainable seafood it is becoming more and more available to consumers. While many seafood wholesalers are now buying and selling them, Publix grocery chain in the southeast US has been carrying lionfish and just recently Whole Foods announced that they would begin to carry lionfish in their Florida and California stores. Our friends at Lionfish.co have compiled a great list of Restaurants that serve lionfish in the US and the Caribbean.
We are always looking for new and delicious ways to prepare and cook lionfish. Here are a few videos of lionfish being prepared that will hopefully inspire you.