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
Feral swine and Burmese pythons are both interlopers in the United States, spreading through public lands and altering ecosystems. To arrest the invasion, ecologists are tagging “Judas” animals to follow them into their communities, learn their behaviors, and then take them down.
The hog problem is old compared to the more recent Burmese Python invasion in southern Florida. The pigs arrived in Louisiana in the 1500s, likely on the ships of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto.
But in the last two decades, the pigs have gone hog wild expanding their range. Feral swine maps from 1982 onwards show a steady progression from the southern United States into the West and as far north as Michigan. Biologist Stephen Hartley of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Louisiana works closely with hunters to track the swine. Hartley is an avid hog hunter himself, so the project is a natural fit.
No one knows why the population has expanded so rapidly, he says. Ecologists estimate there may be between 300,000 and 400,000 hogs in Louisiana alone.
To get a better handle on the population, Hartley collaborates with hunters to catch, collar and release wild hogs. He started out with 15 pigs, and lost five of them (due to deaths or equipment malfunction). The GPS-collars transmit their location to a satellite, which beams the information to a Google Earth app on Hartley’s desktop.
So far, he has found that the hogs prefer marshy areas and their favored home range spans two square miles.
“In the marsh, they are sleeping where they are eating,” said Hartley.
These feral couch potatoes will occasionally move about during the day, but they are most active in the early hours between two and five a.m.
Once he has enough information, Hartley either sets out a trap to catch the tagged individual at its hotspot or lets his hunter friends know where the group’s bedding ground is located. After that it's hog heaven.
Tracking Florida's snake problem is a little more slippery.
The Asiatic constrictor snake can weigh more than 200 pounds, reach up to 20 feet, and yet is almost invisible in the dancing grasses of the Everglades National Park. The python’s ability to hide, together with a rapid reproduction rate -- females lay clutches averaging 35 eggs -- has allowed them to proliferate.
Since the animals became established in 2000, the populations of mid-size mammals in the park such as rabbits, bobcats and foxes has decreased, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. And yet, scientists know little about the pythons.
To get more information, Kristen Hart, a biologist with USGS’ Southeastern Ecological Science Center, began the “Judas” snake project in 2008. She captures males in the breeding season and does minor surgery to implant into their muscle an array of devices the size of a AAA battery covered in biocompatible material. Two radio tags lead scientists carrying VHF receivers directly to the animals. A GPS tag logs information about the past locations of the snake. The data will, over time, reveal the behavior of these snakes in their new territory. But the more urgent need is to capture and kill.
Scientists tracking males in the breeding season find their targets entangled with a female. The capture rate through the Judas snake system is comparable to using traps, Hart said. Both the mating animals are then killed.
“The animals have such an impact on the environment, they have the ability to decimate our native animals -- mammals or birds,” Hart said. “The Everglades needs to have them removed.”