Swamp Lizards, Chicken of the Swamp, Gator… The Other White Meat!
When you think of Louisiana, a few things should come to mind: Great food, Great people and alligator hunting!
Alligator meat has a truly unique flavor. The tail meat, tenderloin, and cheek meat are the prized cuts with a mild chicken like or springy texture with a slight seafood flavor.
Some say the ribs resemble pork in both taste and texture. They are great baked, smoked, and glazed with your favorite sauce. The leg meat, considered a dark meat, is great for braising, grinding, or cooked as wings of the swamp (if small and tender enough).
I was lucky enough to be drawn for public land alligator tags through the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Lottery Alligator Harvest Program and successfully harvested and filled my three tags. After processing the alligators and trying a variety of dishes, I came up with the idea of making an “Alligator Roll” due to its slight seafood flavor and springy texture similar to lobster. By no means is alligator a substitute for lobster, but this feaux lobster roll is packed with flavor and spiced up the Cajun way.
(Don’t think I wasted those beautiful hides; they’re currently at the tannery waiting to be turned into some awesome leather goods.)
- 1 ½-pound Alligator Tail Meat
- 1 Stick Plus 3 Tablespoons of Butter
- 1 Lemon, Zest and Juice
- 3 Stalks of Celery
- 3 Tablespoons of Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons of Chives or Green Onion Tops
- ¼ Cup Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon of Blackening Seasoning
- 1 Pack of Sweet Hawaiian Roll Hot Dog Buns, Top Cut
- Salt and Seasoning to Taste
Yield: 6 servings
- Cube the alligator tail meat into ¼ to ½ inch cubes.
- In a pan, melt the stick of butter and add the lemon zest.
- Poach the cubed alligator meat in the butter and lemon zest for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked through and tender.
- While the alligator is cooking, dice the celery and mince the fresh parsley and chives. Set aside a small amount of parsley and chives for garnish.
- Once cooked, chill the alligator meat in the fridge or freezer to get it to room temperature.
- Add the diced veggies and minced herbs, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, the blackening seasoning, lemon juice, and mayonnaise to the diced alligator meat. Mix thoroughly.
- Add salt or blackening seasoning to taste.
- Serve in a Hawaiian Hot Dog Bun, top cut of course, and top with chives and parsley, a squeeze of a lemon wedge, and more melted butter.
You’ll find more great dishes from the Recreational Chef on Instagram at instagram.com/recreationalchef/
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