The Tiger Puffer Fish (Takifugu rubripes) is the world’s most toxic fish, if it is prepared incorrectly. The skin and entrails contain a potent neuro-toxin known as Tetrodotoxin, which has effects on the body similar to Sarin or VX nerve-gas. Even though strict licensing and training of Fugu chefs has decreased the death toll from Fugu consumption to about 3 a year, there is still a considerable amount of mystic and adventure when eating it.
The knifework at the 3:40 mark is pretty spectacular. The slices are translucent and paper-thin.
I am in a bit of a rush tonight. As some of you might have noticed, the site was acting screwy for most of the day. Apparently, the site-host was switching servers around or something. Problem is I am guiding in the morning and I tried unsuccessfully to write something more when I was home this afternoon. I need to go and pull gear together, and hit the vise for a quick hour of fly-tying.
I will leave you all with one more video. This one is of Master Sushi Chef Hiroyuki Terada, and is a more detailed breakdown of the considerably less deadly lionfish. In lionfish, the spines are what are venomous, though once they are removed the fish can be broken-down safely. Chef Terada is quite efficient in performing this task.
Lionfish represent a tasty problem. They are invasive in many parts of the globe, and have few natural predators. However, they are extremely delicious, and represent a great opportunity for divers and restaurateurs. It has been said that lionfish is “like Chilean sea-bass without the guilt” (though they are rumored to be equally ill-tempered.
Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds wrote a great piece in Popular Mechanics a while back, describing the burgeoning market in lionfish.
“Restaurants on the Caymans are beginning to serve lionfish, and if the trend catches on, human gourmets may do for lionfish what they’ve already done for numerous other edible marine creatures, generating sufficient demand to drive the species’ numbers way, way down.
Some people are taking this approach further. Jackson Landers, author of the Locavore Hunter blog, is a big fan of eating lionfish, saying, “It’s like Chilean sea bass without the guilt.” Landers has also feasted on invading European green crabs, nutria, Asian carp—he’s working with Louisiana chef Philippe Parola on a plan to turn that creature into delicious mass-marketed meals—and even armadillo. (Fears of leprosy, he says, are grossly exaggerated.)
I asked Landers if it was important to get restaurants involved in serving invasive species, and he said yes: Putting the critters on menus lends “a lot of legitimacy” to the idea of them as food. Stock grocery shelves with them and instead of an expensive eradication program, we’ve got a self-financing method of pest control.”