In case you haven’t heard of the snakehead fish, it’s an invasive Asian species that’s gotten into Maryland and Virginia waters. It’s scary, a voracious predator with no natural enemies in these parts, and it takes very good care of its young, ensuring that large numbers of them survive to reproduce. It’s freakishly hardy, able to breathe air and survive for days out of water. US Fish and Wildlife have been trying to contain the population explosion, but the snakeheads are flourishing.
Enter Whackfactor Outdoors and the Potomac Snakehead Tournament. They set up a tournament with cash prizes for whoever could bring in the heaviest snakehead catch within a set amount of time. As a bonus (and this is what caught K’s attention), local chefs would prepare delicacies with snakehead.
K has long been saying that the cure for invasive species is for humans to eat them. Humans, after all, have hunted species to the brink of extinction time and time again. If anyone can take out a species, it’s us.
We showed up at the tournament near the end, for the Invasive Species Tasting (open to the public). I was delighted by the quality of the free snakehead delicacies.
On my plate: snakehead ceviche on a tortilla (courtesy the chef from Alewife), a snakehead crostini with microgreens (courtesy the staff of Dino DC), and fried blue catfish (apparently also an invasive species).
It was fabulous food; everything was delicious. I didn’t take notes on the flavors, but I would cheerfully go out to the restaurants if they put those dishes on the menu. People, if you see snakehead on the menu, snap it up! I’m sure we can eat these invaders right out of the Potomac, if we put our minds to it.
By the way, the tournament ended up removing over half a ton of snakeheads from the area. Kudos to the hardworking tournament contestants!