Gourd Invasion Beat Europeans Across Atlantic
B. Borrell Casals/Frank Lane Picture Agency/Corbis
If you want to do your part to devour America's invasive species problem, these recipes will get you started.
First, a simple recipe for nutria from Dave Linkhart of the National Trappers Association.
"I take the hindquarters of a nutria and put it in a crock pot with one large onion and cajun seasoning. You can put anything else you want, carrots, potatoes, whatever. After 3 hours in the crock pot the meat falls right off the bone."
Although some pythons in the Everglades may be high in mercury, if you find an uncontaminated one you can snack on the snakes.
Asian Style Python Steaks:
-1 kg of Python Steaks
-4-5 peeled and sliced Shallots
-1 tablespoon Turmeric powder
-5-7 cloves, peeled and pounded garlic cloves
-2-3 inches long, peeled and pounded ginger
-10 stems Lemon grass (peeled; tender parts finely chopped and pounded)
-2 tablespoons paprika
-2 tablespoons white rice wine Salt
-2 tablespoons Peanut oil
-2 quarts spring water
First boil and poach the steaks with lemon peel, lemon grass stems, and skins of shallots, garlic and ginger in the quart of spring water. When the flesh is soft, take the Python steaks out and let cool. Next, saute’ shallots on low heat until lightly brown and add the ginger, garlic and all other spices. Next turn up the heat until the toasted aroma arise from the pot. Add flaked Python, rice wine, and more spring water and reduce heat for 10 minutes.
Recipe from: wildlifetrapper.com
Lionfish took over the Caribbean, but now people are taking to lionfish. There are whole books dedicated to lionfish recipes.
Simple Steamed Lionfish:
Coat aluminum foil wrap in olive oil then insert lionfish, along with onion, tomato slices, bell pepper, carrot, pineapple, squash, zucchini, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and thyme. Place over a fire for 6 to 10 minutes. Serve with brown rice and a slice of fresh mango on the side.
Recipe from: lionfishhunter.com
EPA, Wikimedia Commons
Eat a Vampire
Sea lampreys decimated the fish population of the Great Lakes. The blood-sucking lampreys drained the fish until they died or were susceptible to diseases introduced through the gaping wound the lamprey left behind. But in medieval Europe, the lampreys were a prized delicacy.
-1 live 2 kg lamprey
-1 deciliter oil
-100 g butter
-1 bottle red Bordeaux wine
-1 small glass Armagnac
-4 garlic cloves
-600 g Bayonne ham
-2 tablespoons flour
-1 glass broth
-1 bouquet garni
-6 slices country-style bread salt
Bleed the lamprey by hanging it by the head and cutting the tail over and container to collect the blood. When there's no blood dripping anymore, dip the lamprey in boiling water for 1 minute.
Take it out and peel it. Cut in 4 cm-thick slices. Put the slices in the container of blood.
Cut the white part of the leeks into 7-8 cm-long whistles and put them in butter.
Add the diced ham, the shallots and onions. Sprinkle with flour and with the wine and broth. Add the cloves and bouquet garni. Add pepper, salt a little. Add two crushed garlic cloves. Bring to a boiling point, then cook for 45 minutes over low heat.
45 minutes later, add the pieces of lamprey in the sauce, cover and cook again for 45 minutes.
Remove the slices of fish, and them in another pan or skillet with Armagnac.
Pour the equivalent of a glass of warm sauce over the blood in order to dilute it, and poor in the skillet. Stir well. Put back the lamprey, season and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Beat the sauce with butter.
Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the remaining garlic.Put the lamprey in a shallow dish, on the slices of bread.
Put the leeks all around with the sauce.
Recipe from: meilleurduchef.com
NASA, Wikimedia Commons
Pig Out on Feral Hogs
If you are sure the wild pig you have is disease free, then pig out with this German-style recipe.
Braised Wild Boar in Sauerkraut:
-2 (20 ounce) cans sauerkraut, drained
-3 pounds wild boar roast
-1 large onion, quartered
-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
-4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
-1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Pour one can of sauerkraut into the bottom of a Dutch oven. Set the roast on top of it, then arrange the onions potatoes and carrots around the roast. Cover with the remaining can of sauerkraut and pour in the beer. Cover with a lid.
Bake in the preheated oven until the roast is extremely tender, about 3 hours.
Recipe from allrecipes.com
Tasty Tiger Prawns
Another species invading Louisiana's waters is the tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon.
Grilled Lemon and Garlic Tiger Prawns:
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lemon, juiced
-1 orange, juiced
-1 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
-2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
-30 tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
In a glass dish, mix together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, basil and white wine. Add the prawns, and stir to coat. Cover, and let marinate for 1 hour.
Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
Thread prawns onto skewers. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until pink.
Recipe from allrecipes.com
The waterways of America are being taken over by a variety of carp species, most notoriously the jumping silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). With the right recipe, the fish will jump out of the water onto your plate and right into your stomach.
-4 silver carp fish steaks
-2 tablespoon of olive oil
-2 ounces of unsalted butter
-3 oz of white wine
-1 tablespoon of lemon juice
-½ cup of roasted almonds
-Seasoning to taste
In a skillet, preheat olive oil and butter until very hot
Place seasoned carp steaks and brown both sides
Add white wine and lemon juice
Place carp steaks with sauce into a baking pan
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until done
When served, top carp steaks with sauce then top with roasted almonds.
Recipe from: chefphillipe.com
Bottle gourds’ wild ancestors may have crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the currents that run from western Africa to the Caribbean and South America thousands of years before Europeans made similar voyages.
A recent genetic analysis found that ancient gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) from the western hemisphere carried the DNA signature of African wild gourds. Those hard-skinned fruits could have floated across the Atlantic in as little as 100 days, with an average sea voyage of approximately nine months. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a study that presented both the genetic analysis and travel time estimates.
The wild gourds simply floated from their homeland in Africa to the Western Hemisphere. Once the floating fruit reached new lands, the seeds within sprouted and animals distributed the plants even further. Wild gourd seeds have been found in mastodon dung in Florida, noted the study’s authors, led by post-doctoral researcher Logan Kistler of Penn State.
After the wild gourds established themselves of dry land, humans may have domesticated the plant in multiple places independently, suggested the study authors. The fruits’ sea-going ability allowed bottle gourds to be the only domesticated crop with a global distribution before the 1500′s. Domesticated gourds first appeared in archeological finds in the western Hemisphere from 10,000 years ago. People used the dried shell of the gourds to make water bottles, spoons, bowls and other items. In some places, such as the coast of western South America, people likely used gourds as containers before inventing ceramic pots.
Earlier studies suggested that bottle gourds may have accompanied prehistoric people as they crossed the now-submerged land bridge from Asia to North America in the Arctic. The PNAS study authors pointed out that the early Native Americans would have needed to cultivate the gourds in the frigid north as they migrated. However, gourds need warm weather to grow.
Gourds also need animals to move their seeds around. In Africa, wild gourds are nearly extinct. The wild gourds that floated to distant lands completely disappeared, possibly because they depended on large animals, like mastodons and giant sloths, to disburse their seeds to new inland areas. Luckily for the gourds, humans took the place of mastodons and continue to cultivate the domesticated descendants of the pioneer gourds. For example, I have six huge dried gourds from a single plant that dominated my garden, climbed the grape arbor and scaled a cedar tree. Someday, those gourds will be turned into bird houses.