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Cooking with Carlo: Lionfish Carpaccio

When you’ve been spearfishing all day and get back on your boat and realize you haven’t eaten anything and you barely have any provisions, this is Chef Carlo’s go-to dish. Lionfish tastes simple, fresh and mild and with help from a few capers in the pantry and a bit of fresh arugula, plus lemons from the bar, you can whip up this elegant dish in no time.

And, when you eat lionfish, you are doing a service to the environment: it’s an invasive species that Carlo and his team are at the forefront of the efforts to control.

Watch Carlo walk you through this easy, yet impressive, dish:

Lionfish Carpaccio


Prep Time 20 min

Ready in 20 – 30 min

Serves 4


1 pound fresh lionfish*

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons drained brined capers

Large handful of fresh arugula or watercress

*If you can’t get your hands on any lionfish, this recipe will work well with yellow jack, grouper, tile fish, snapper, cobia…the list goes on! The key is making sure whatever fish you choose is as fresh as possible.


Clean and gut your fish if you haven’t already. When fish is this fresh, it will be extra warm and buttery, so to cut it on as wide an angle as possible, place the fish in the freezer for 20 minutes (throw a plate in there, too). This will make it much easier to cut the fish very thinly without ripping it. Thinly slice the fish and place the slices on the cold plate (the plate helps keep the fish cold!). Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the fish and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top with the capers and arugula. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe courtesy of the Margaritaville: The Cookbook, now available wherever books are sold.