It’s Foodie Friday, and I’ve waited far too long to introduce my new cookbook: “The Invasive Species Cookbook: Conservation through Gastronomy” (courtesy of my friend Carla Cole, who traded me for Amy Sedaris’ craft book “Simple Times”).
In addition to crafty recipes for barbecue pork ribs (made from feral swine), fried crayfish tails, garlic mustard pesto, pigeon pie, nutria sausage, Asian carp ceviche and other curiosities, the book also has really nice background on the species themselves, where they came from, how to find them and words of wisdom on preparing them well (like “Make sure you know the difference between kudzu and poison ivy!”).
The idea, of course, is to wipe out ecologically damaging invasive species while filling our bellies with something scrumptious. We’ll be satiated, and native species will thrive. (Question here for vegetarians: Would you make an exception for invasive animals?)
Dan Hilburn, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division beat me to the punch on the Oregon Invasive Species blog by introducing some local invasive species dishes circa Thanksgiving: Stuffed starling with dandelion and mustard greens, Himalayan blackberry-glazed bullfrog legs, wild boar stuffed with Chinese mitten crab, and snakehead with African honeybee honey glaze. But I have recipes.
Hilburn also rejected all his own delicious ideas! I think his point was that we can’t eat our way through the invasive species problem (for one thing, not all of the species are edible, and some – dead man’s fingers? rock snot? – sound downright nauseating). And if we don’t keep invasives under wraps they could squeeze out the tastier things we like eat. That said, I still enjoy the idea of fixing up an invasive species feast. At some point, I think I will host a meet-up around this concept. In the meantime, I snapped some pictures of a few recipes to test out, based on the first few targets in the Oregon Invasive Species Action Plan:
New Zealand mud snail
Finally, here’s a top 10 list of edible invasive species, along with links to recipes for cooking them up. Sadly, this page also has a link to 15 endangered species that are still on the menu (i.e. what not to eat). Bon appetite!