By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
What’s our preferred way to control the population of lionfish invading Caribbean waters? By eating them, of course! So today we’re sharing this recipe for bite-size fish burgers that not only taste good but do good, straight from the kitchen at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Grand Cayman’s slick retail, restaurant and residential complex, Camana Bay. And since we know you won’t be able to eat just one, this recipe makes a delicious dozen. (Thank us later.)
Lionfish Sliders with Scotch Bonnet Aioli
Ingredients (makes 12 sliders)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, seeds removed
½ cup seasoning or shishito peppers, seeds removed
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups canola oil
12 3-ounce lionfish filets, pin bones removed
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 potato rolls
1 cup picked cilantro leaves
1 cup scallions, cut on the bias
1 cup baby arugula, washed
3 limes, cut into wedges
3 ripe avocados, sliced vegetable oil for frying kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat a deep-fat fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with vegetable oil.
In a food processor, combine the garlic, peppers and lemon juice and puree until smooth, scraping down the sizes of the bowl every few moments. Once pureed, add the egg yolks and salt, then run the food processor until the egg yolks have been whipped enough to be well incorporated with the pepper mix. While the food processor is running, combine the two oils and slowly incorporate them into the processor a the thin stream. You want to have an emulsification, so don’t go too fast. Taste the aioli for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Season the lionfish filets with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour. Fry until golden brown and cooked through. Place on paper towels to soak up any excess oil and season with salt.
To assemble, slice the potato rolls in half and toast the cut side on a griddle. Liberally spread the aioli on both cut sides of the bread. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cilantro leaves, scallions and arugula and dress with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Assemble each slider by placing the fried filets on the bottom half of the sauced rolls. Then thinly slice the avocado and place on the lionfish with the cilantro/arugula mix. Place the top half of the roll on top and secure with a sandwich pick.