“When man turns its attention to an animal, it's very difficult for the animal,” states David Stein, executive chef at Tony & Joe's Seafood Place in Washington DC. In the case of the invasive Northern Snakehead, elaborates Stein, “He (the snakehead) is dangerous, but chefs are more dangerous.”

Luckily for both chefs and seafood lovers, snakeheads offer mild-tasting, meaty, snow-white steaks and filets ideal for inclusion in a wide variety of seafood recipes. That's one of Stein's creations above, accompanied by the head of the snakehead he cooked. Here's looking at me, kid!



10) Frankenfish Tacos

Yo quiero snakehead! Hey, if the Cooking Channel has embraced snakeheads, so can you... just be sure they're officially deceased when you do it. As for Frankenfish Tacos, the name might not be bursting with zesty appeal but the delicioso Grilled Corn Salsa more than makes up for it. (Snakehead recipe and image via Cooking Channel)



9) Spotted Snakehead Sizzling Fry

Spotted Snakehead, Striped Snakehead, Giant Snakehead (for those annual family gatherings), it's all good because all snakeheads in North America are all bad – for the environment, that is. On your plate it's a different story and though the native name of this Bangladeshi recipe is “Taki”, both the taste and presentation are anything but. (Snakehead recipe and image via Recipe.com)



8) Spicy Steamed Snakehead With Lime Juice


This heavenly combination of snakehead, fresh lime, garlic, chilies and herbs known as Pla Neung Manao showcases the best features of Thai cuisine. No wonder they call Thailand “The Land of Smiles.” (Snakehead recipe image via Geckovilla)



7) Vietnamese Style Clay Pot Braised Snakehead

Also known somewhat less palatably as “Mudfish”, Snakehead is one of the most popular culinary fishes in southeast Asia thanks to firm, fine-grained meat that stays together when cooked. Snakehead Stew is cooked in a stone or clay cooking pot along with boneless pork, lemongrass, citronella and other regional spices. The bowl may be heavy but the meal won't weigh you down. (Snakehead recipe image via Saltpepperlime)



6) Spicy Steamed Fish with Lemongrass and Galangal

Cambodian Spicy Steamed Fish with Lemongrass and Galangal

This flavorful fish dish was inspired by the homespun cuisine of rural Cambodia. Sour and Spicy Steamed Snakehead Fish with lemongrass and Galangal (“Trey Chamhoi” to the locals) sounds as if it might be overly aromatic but as a rule, properly prepared fermented, pickled or steamed fish should have very little objectionable odor. Go ahead and challenge your dinner guests while improving the environment with this recipe... no need to hold your nose while doing so. (Snakehead recipe image via ATravel Diary)



5) Deep-fried Snakehead Po' boy Sandwiches

Served on a 6-inch Shorty or fully dressed with your choice of garnishes, Snakehead Po' boy Sandwiches add a new twist to Big Easy comfort food. Snakehead is ideal for battering and deep-frying: the firm meat won't break up while cooking and provides an almost chicken-like bite when served. Batter & fry snakehead meat as you would any other firm-fleshed fish and lay on the condiments; don't forget to use real French-style baguettes for that authentic Nawlins accent! (Snakehead recipe image via Baltimore Sun)



4) Rustic Curried Snakehead Fish Grilled in Banana Leaves

Ngohp Bplaa Chaawn? Yes please! Rustic Curried Snakehead Fish Grilled in Banana Leaves is about as exotic as it gets but back in Thailand where snakeheads are commonly found, folks have had centuries to refine the best ways to eat them. The key here is the use of banana leaves to wrap the fish before grilling: they hold the flavorful juices in, keeping the fish mouthwateringly moist. (Snakehead recipe image via Thai Food Master)



3) Grilled Snakehead Fish

Grilled Snakehead can be ordered in most any domestic Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, or prepared from scratch in most any domestic North American kitchen. One caveat is that some recipes call for the chef to “bury fish in haystacks and burn.” We suggest you consult with your local farmer and/or fire department before doing so. (Snakehead recipe image via Eating Thai Food)



2) Snakehead Fish Soup with Sweet Corn and Huai Shan

This old family recipe is a great way to use a lot of snakehead in a nutritious manner. Huai Shan, also known as Wild Yam or Nagaimo (“long potato” in Japanese) is available at most Asian grocery stores fresh or dried – this recipe calls for the dried version which may be harder to find unless you've got a Chinese herb store close at hand. (Snakehead recipe image via Wendyinkk)



1) Snakehead Murrel Curry

Snakehead Murrel Curry

This recipe for Shol Maach er Kalia (Spicy Shol Fish/Snakehead Murrel Curry) is a favorite in eastern India and Bangladesh, though the chef recommends it only prepared in the winter as "this fish shouldn’t be consumed during summer, as they get diseases during the summer". We're not sure if snakehead illnesses are transferable to people but hey - we'll take their word for it and so should you. (Snakehead recipe image via Delicious Addiction)



Isn't it amazing how a very ugly fish can make a great-looking (and delicious tasting) meal? Even better, by putting snakeheads on your menu you help keep our native fish off the snakehead's menu. That's more than enough reason to reel 'em in and serve 'em up! (Snakehead images via WTOP, top, and The Artful Gourmet, above)


*** UPDATED on January 6th, 2019 ***