Caribbean Tropical Lionfish

Dorian Barrera, 2020 Recipe Contest Peoples Choice Winner


4 (4oz) fillets of lionfish
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbl unsweetened shredded coconut
4 Tbl (divided) coconut oil
1 Tbl sliced green onion
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 C orange juice
1/8 C St Supery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbl butter
Chopped cilantro for garnish


Pat the fillets dry, season with the clove, cinna­mon, salt, pepper, shredded coconut and 2T of coconut oil. Marinate for 1/2 hours in the fridge. Preheat your grill pan over high heat, add the remaining coconut oil. Grill the fish 3 minutes on each side at medium high heat. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Deglaze the pan with the sauvi­gnon blanc, add the butter, add the green onion and the ginger and sauté. Add the orange juice and reduce the sauce over medium heat. Drizzle the reduced citrus sauce over the fish. I plated it with ingredients from my Florida home backyard, green fried plantains and sliced avocado. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Bueno Provecho!!

Why This Dish is Sustainable

Lionfish, best paired with St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This well balanced wine is very fruit forward showcasing citrus aromas and hints of pas­sion fruit. It pairs well with this tropical sustainable fish dish and with the Caribbean spices it is marinated in. Sustainable fish is fish that is caught or farmed with ethical practices of minimal social and environmental impact. It is about us being more responsible consumers and being more aware of where our fish is coming from and how we can help. It is not about having an exotic fish dish from a faraway place in the world without caring how it got to our plate. Over fishing unbalances the ocean and is not a good practice. I use as my guide to select best choices for sustainable fish.

My approach is to eat more local fish or in the case of my recipe consuming a fish that is invading our ocean and doing my part to impact that change for the better. I have chosen Lionfish for this recipe as it has an interesting story as to why there are so many in our Florida waters. This fish is not a native of Florida but because aquarium owners would have Lionfish in their tanks but when they realized that they would eat the other fish, the owners started throwing them into the ocean. It is sustainably fished and now available in local supermarkets such as WholeFoods and abundant because of its rapid reproduction and no local predator, but one that we need to reduce because it is eating away our local fish and coral reefs. Therefore, our consumption of it can help balance the popu­lations of other local fish in our Florida waters.

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