Alice Town, Bimini—October 17, 2011— With more than 400 servings of a new menu item last month, Bimini Big Game Club’s General Manager Michael Weber and Chef Alvarez Bastian have found a recipe to help the environment and sate the most discriminating palate at the same time.
The Bimini Big Game Club’s Panko Breaded Lionfish Nuggets are the talk of the island—a gourmand’s answer to a tasty snack and an eco-solution for helping to rid nearby reefs of an aggressive and non-native predator.
“Our lionfish nuggets have become a huge seller, and though we don’t serve endangered species such as grouper and we were the first Bahamas resort to feature a shark free marina, we have absolutely no problem in turning lionfish into a menu item,” said Weber.
The colorful and charismatic lionfish, a member of the venomous scorpionfish family, are native to the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. First observed in Fort Lauderdale in 1985, they appeared in noticeable numbers in the Caribbean and Florida waters around 2000 and have continued to aggressively breed. Scientists are quite concerned that lionfish may be completely reinventing the western north Atlantic coral reef ecosystem.
How bad is it? According to Dr. Mahmood Shivji, a professor at Nova Southeastern University and director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute:
“There are enormous concerns that lionfish will completely change and possibly destroy Atlantic coral reefs by overrunning them and shrinking their native biodiversity, and that the ongoing damage is severe and possibly irreparable. So far, there is no known quick-fix, and the problem is escalating exponentially.”
Weber is quick to admit that turning lionfish into finger food is far from a solution, but with proper cleaning, the lionfish meat is excellent in taste and texture, and any that make it to the table means “they are no longer a threat on the reefs.
The US federal government’s chief fisheries management agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is in agreement, having developed an Eat Lionfish campaign http://www.ccfhr.noaa.gov/docs/EatLionfishPullCard.pdf.
“If you can’t beat them, eat them,” said Weber.
Recipe for Panko Breaded Lionfish Nuggets ala Bimini Big Game Club
(Please carefully adhere to cleaning recommendations before preparing)
- 4 oz of Lionfish
- 1 cup liquid egg
- Panko breadcrumb
- Salt & Pepper
- Cajun seasoning
In 3 separate bowls place your liquid egg, flour and breadcrumb. Cut Lionfish into small bite sized pieces and season with salt & Pepper & Cajun seasoning. Dip pieces into flour, shake off excess flour, and then dip into liquid egg and then into Panko breading. Once covered in the breading they are ready to take a long hot bath in some hot oil at 325 degrees until crispy golden brown.
Homemade Cilantro & Key Lime Tarter Sauce:
- Mayonnaise 1 cup
- 1 Gherkin’s or small Pickle
- 2 TBS Key Lime juice
- 6 leaves of chopped Cilantro
- 2 TBS of chopped Capers
Make sure all above ingredients are FINELY chopped. Mix the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and fold ingredients together and add salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate until time of service to remain fresh.
About Bimini Big Game Club, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort and Marina
Founded as a dinner club in 1936 in Alice Town, the island’s cultural hub, by Nassau entrepreneur and bon-vivant, Neville Stuart, the Big Game Club has over the last 74 years hosted world-class fishermen, major tournaments, international celebrities and tens of thousands guests looking to bask in the unique “Islands in the Stream” mantra made famous by author Ernest Hemingway who lived and fished in Bimini in the mid 1930s.
Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts has teamed with top-of-class sportsmen to deliver top-of-class fishing and diving experiences, known to the group as Outpost Pursuits.
Renowned dive authority Neal Watson oversees the Club’s new dive operation, Dive Bin, showcased by its 60 ft. double deck, glass bottom dive boat, the largest in the Bahamas out-islands.
Bonefish Bimini, headed by artist, conservationist and fly fishing personality, Vaughn Cochran, works with the island’s elite bonefishing guides and is quickly restoring awareness of Bimini’s legendary “Big Bones”.
Sportfishing charters operations have been established at the Club, with the recent arrival of record setting Captain Billy Black, a fixture on the Bahamas offshore fishing circuit.
The Big Game Club, which is located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay, currently features a 51-room resort and a 75-slip marina capable of accommodating boats up to 145 feet in length. A full service fuel dock will be operational by Spring 2012.
Guestrooms and suites have been fully renovated, as with the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, and completion of the Hemingway Lounge and Gulfstream conference center. The Club also offers the Guy Harvey Outfitter Shop, for the best in sportswear, gifts and accessories.
Location: Alice Town (North Bimini’s Southern Tip) Marina
Facilities: 75 Slips
Regular Rooms: 35
Penthouse Suites: 4
Cottage Rooms: 12
Restaurants: Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, Hemingway Lounge
Meeting Space: Gulfstream Conference Center
Other Activities: Outpost Outfitter Shop, Deepsea Fishing, Flats Fishing, Diving, Snorkeling, Shopping, Sightseeing, Sunset Cruises, Picnics