Cooking with Invasive Species: Lionfish with Coconut Curry Sauce

Published September 18, 2014

In advance of his appearance at this weekend's Baltimore Seafood Festival, our executive chef shares his favorite recipe for preparing invasive lionfish. 

We’re excited to announce that our executive chef, Joseph Cotton, will be on-hand at Baltimore’s inaugural Seafood Festival this weekend to demonstrate how to prepare lionfish! 

Native to the Indo-Pacific, invasive lionfish populations are threatening entire reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Since lionfish are not native to those waters, they have very few predators. Invasive species present a challenge for conservationists to easily eliminate, making lionfish a great candidate for communities along the East Coast looking for sustainable seafood options! 

Interested in experimenting with cooking lionfish? Check out Chef Cotton’s recipe:

Pan-seared Lionfish with Coconut Curry Sauce

Serves: 4


24 oz. of lionfish filets
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 scallions, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 oz. yellow sweet pepper, sliced
4 tsp. Jamaican curry powder 
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups fish stock
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
Dash of salt/pepper


  1.  Make sure your lionfish filets are clean and all venomous spines have been properly removed. Pat the filets dry with paper towel.  
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers until the onion is translucent. 
  3. Add the lion fish filets to the center of the pan. Sear the fish (approximately 3-4 minutes on each side). Set aside.
  4. Add the allspice, curry, salt, pepper, coconut milk and fish stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Let the flavors incorporate and the sauce reduce for a few minutes. 
  5. Plate your fish and cover generously in the coconut curry sauce. Garnish with a few slices of yellow pepper, if desired. 

To learn more about preparing invasive species, be sure to stop by Chef Cotton’s demonstrations at the Baltimore Seafood Festival!
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