Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean that have recently experienced a population boom. While these fish may be beautiful, they are also known for their sharp spines filled with venom. Lionfish take resources from native Caribbean fish, and eat smaller fish that are endangered and essential to the environment.
Serenity at Coconut Bay is stepping up to protect our clear Caribbean waters by adding lionfish to the menu.
Lionfish on the Menu
Lionfish typically aren’t found on most Caribbean menus, but Serenity at Coconut Bay plans to change that. Chef Angelo, the new executive chef for all of Coconut Bay’s and Serenity’s dining venues, recently started experimenting with lionfish as a new gourmet menu special selection exclusive to Serenity guests. For those not familiar, Lionfish are part of the grouper family and taste similar to snapper. They don’t have a very “fishy” taste, which makes them palatable for many diners.
The first time Chef Angelo debuted Lionfish on the menu at the Greathouse, Serenity’s five-star restaurant for luxury cuisine. He served blackened lionfish, pumpkin rice, and plantain and papaya slaw. It was a hit with many guests cleaning their plates and suggesting that it be added as a permanent menu item!
As Chef Angelo sees the demand for Lionfish on his restaurant menu, he works with local fishermen on the processes to provide the fish prepared for our kitchens.
Chef Angelo Trains Local Fishermen
One of the main reasons lionfish isn’t commonly served is because of its venomous spines and potential dangers to fishermen. Fishermen must know how to safely catch and remove the spines in order for the fish to be sold. Knowing how to safely prepare the fish is essential.
Chef Angelo started working with the local fishermen and teaching them how to clean and remove the spines from lionfish they catch. This makes it easier for him to incorporate lionfish to our resort menus, while the fishermen are able to sell a newly demanded product.
What was previously a poisonous “trash fish,” is now an in-demand food item.
Serving Lionfish Allows Serenity to Support Local Fishermen
The work of Chef Angelo helps Serenity at Coconut Bay stand by its promise to serve fresh, never frozen seafood. The lionfish that we purchase from local fishermen are literally fresh off the boat, and our guests can rest assured that what’s on the menu came direct from the sea that very morning!
We’re happy to buy from local fishermen, not only to support local families and the Saint Lucia economy, but also to give our guests a true taste of Caribbean cuisine, with fish caught right off our shores.
The next time you dine in Serenity at Coconut Bay, look for lionfish on the menu! You might be surprised what Chef Angelo is cooking up.
Image from iStock