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Taming the Lion

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When I think of tropical vacations, images of beaches, palm trees, fruity drinks, and sunsets come to mind. And, of course, fish. Not only the colourful tropical wildlife that mesmerises us on snorkels and scuba dives, but also the delicious, tasty creations that tantalise our taste buds.

Fish are a healthy, flavourful protein that go well with so many foods and wines.

A fish that has recently invaded the Caribbean waters, yet not our Caribbean plates, is the lionfish. Native to the Pacific and Indian Ocean, the lionfish knows few predators and therefore has proliferated in abundance. The lionfish are covered in beautiful yet poisonous barbs that fan out just like the mane of a lion. But not to worry – they are simple to catch and filet. Our Captain Ernie of sailing catamaran Lolalita uses a three-prong pole spear and a collection bag to carefully gather as many lionfish as possible, and then uses gloves and tin shears to cut away the dangerous spines. After that, it’s as simple as fileting a ‘normal’ fish.

It’s so rare to see lionfish on a Caribbean menu, despite all the wonderful possibilities this delicate, mild, flaky fish offers.

Whenever I have the option to try a new means of loving this fish, I always take advantage. Here is one of my absolute favourite ways to enjoy lionfish – a recipe that highlights its wonderfully subtle texture and taste.

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Ají Dulce Lionfish Siwichi

1 lb. lionfish filet, diced into ¼ inch pieces

2 ají dulce peppers (or other sweet peppers), diced small

1 green onion sprig, diced small

½ red onion, diced small

Handful of fresh tarragon, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp avocado oil

Peruvian ají dulce hot sauce

½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

Salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine fish, ají dulce peppers, green onion, red onion, tarragon, garlic, avocado oil, and lime juice. Add in a splash (or more) of Peruvian ají dulce hot sauce to your spice preference, and set in refrigerator for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chilled, garnish with lime slices and fresh herbs, alongside tortilla chips, pita, fresh bread, or crackers.

Serves 6 – 8.

Buen Provecho~

Megan Schlobohm, Chef - SV Lolalita

Megan Schlobohm, Chef - SV Lolalita

Chef at Lolalita SV
Chef Megan from Atlanta, Georgia of the US decided to join the sailing world very soon after her years in academic education and prior to her admission, developed a fierce passion for cooking. Perfecting her menu on various yachts, most of her phenomenal culinary abilities are self-taught, bringing innovative cuisine to Crewed Yacht Lolalita in the BVI.
Megan Schlobohm, Chef - SV Lolalita
Megan Schlobohm, Chef - SV Lolalita

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