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Sunday, January 30, 2011

More on the lionfish-

How to conquer the invasive lionfish? Saute it.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lionfish makes for a stunning sight underwater, with its vibrant red hue and long, venomous spines. But it is also a relentless predator in U.S. and Caribbean waters, a trait that threatens coral reefs in the Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and beyond. Click here to read more...

Saturday, January 29, 2011


by Wendy Swat Snyder

Chef Ken Vedrinski established himself in the early 1990s as an advocate for farm fresh ingredients heading up the kitchen of the acclaimed Opus Restaurant in the former Swissôtel Atlanta. He went on to garner the only Mobile Five-Star ranking awarded to a South Carolina restaurant at the Dining Room at Woodlands Inn. With the opening of hisTrattoria Lucca, Vedrinski, who learned to cook at the side of his Italian grandmother, has brought his culinary journey full circle.

Lucca - named for the town in Western Tuscany that produces his favorite olive oil - is a tribute to Vedrinski's Italian heritage. A semi-finalist for "Best New Restaurant" in the 2009 James Beard Awards, its menu showcases Lowcountry staples, particularly freshly-netted fish and local produce.

Recently, Slow Food Charleston asked Vedrinski to help raise awareness of the predatory lionfish now patrolling the waters of the East Coast, and he was completely on board.

"I'd just read an article about the lionfish," says Vedrinski. "They eat everything, and are threatening to wipe out the natural species unique to South Carolina."

Vedrinski also read that the lionfish is delicious, and that the best strategy for controlling it is increased consumption, so he's teamed up with guest chefs Mike Lata of FIG and Celina Tio of Julian to prepare a four-course dinner to support this sustainable initiative. The lionfish will be the centerpiece of the January 30 event, "Eat the Lionfish", as well as a new dish on Lucca's menu. Local lionfish hunter (and Lucca lionfish supplier) Vic Depuis will give a presentation.

Ken Vedrinski's Lionfish

Lionfish with Fregola Sarda , Lambrusco , Guanciale

Four 6-oz Lionfish filets
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 oz Fregola (large cous cous)
1 btl Lambrusco
4 oz Guanciale, cooked & chopped
1 qt chicken stock
2 shallots, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small carrot, diced
1 fresh bay leaf
1/3 cup olive oil
1 beet, peeled & chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Saute shallots, garlic, and carrot in olive oil till soft. Add Fregola, Lambrusco, beets and bay leaf, and simmer until wine is almost gone. Add chicken stock and cook until Fregola is al dente. Remove beet pieces. Add salt to taste. Keep warm. Put Guanciale crust thinly on top of fish and bake at 350 for 6 to 8 minutes. Serve over Fregola.