Chef John Mirabella shares his delicious recipe for Florida lionfish that not only tastes great, but also saves the ecosystem from the invasive seafood.
When we travel, we always seek out and try a common dish to the area. According to John, Marathon’s specialty dish is often something made with Florida’s favorite Hogfish or the locally loved lionfish. Chef John’s restaurant was the first in the state of Florida to serve the lionfish and received recognition for cooking the endangered species. Thankfully, the invasive fish is buttery, tender, and delicious for cooking. In order to spear the fish, one must dive very deep. The lionfish live about 1,000 feet down and come up between 200 and 400 feet. To make matters even more challenging, the spines of lionfish contain venom and can cause extreme pain if one is pricked. John still calls this kind of difficult fishing a sport, but admits that one must be careful.
If that sounds a bit too wild for your vacation, no worries! Chef John has shared on of his favorite lionfish recipes to try at home of the next time you are in the Marathon.
- 42 ounces lionfish fillets, patted dry
- flour (for coating)
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 2½ cups chopped tomatoes
- 5 tsp. capers
- ½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 T. chopped fresh basil
- parsley or kale for garnish
- lemon wedge for garnish
- Dredge fillets in flour to lightly dust. Place in sauté pan with small amount of hot butter over medium heat. Cook first side, careful not to burn.
- Turn over fish when golden, and reduce heat while adding garlic, tomatoes, capers, white wine and lemon juice. Cover to hold steam in and cook until fish is fork-tender. Add basil and serve immediately. Garnish with sprig of parsley or kale and lemon wedge.