• Friday, February 28, 2020

American Delicacy: Nutria

Discussion in 'Americas' started by FairAndUnbiased, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. FairAndUnbiased

    FairAndUnbiased SENIOR MEMBER

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    https://www.foxnews.com/story/nutria-the-other-red-meat

    NEW YORK – It's healthier than turkey, as exotic as alligator and, no, it doesn't taste like chicken.

    "I would probably have to liken the taste to wild rabbit," said Robert Walker, of the Louisiana Seafood Exchange. "Once people try it, they realize it's not an offensive-tasting product, just because it's rodent-like in nature."

    And if it has more than a passing resemblance to a rodent, that's because Louisiana's newest culinary treat is a rodent. It's commonly known as the nutria — or the swamp rat.

    "I'd have to say it's the ugliest game animal there is," Walker conceded.

    It's also possibly one of the most dangerous, at least in terms of environmental damage.

    Nutria were introduced to the U.S. in 1937 by an entrepreneur hoping to raise them for their fur. But some escaped from captivity and began to thrive in the Louisiana wetlands. By 1955, there were an estimated 20 million wild nutria in the state, devouring the grasses that kept coastal marshes from becoming free water. They were kept in check only by a flourishing trade in their pelts.

    But by the 1990s the fur market dried up, and the nutria multiplied. They've devoured so much of the vegetation ringing the shore that some 100,000 acres of wetlands are in danger of disappearing, according to Edmond Mouton, biologist and program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries.

    Now, whether you're walking by a New Orleans drainage ditch or traveling down a country road, it's not unusual to notice the three-foot long, 18-pound animals, Walker said.

    "You find them all over, sitting on the side of the street eating grass," he said. "The first thought anyone who's never seen them before is always: 'Damn! Look at the size of that rat!'"

    Nutria have been trapped and eaten in rural areas of Louisiana for decades. But for the average American, it's safe to say it was a leap of logic to envision a water rat on a dinner plate.

    It took lauded continental chef Phillippe Parola to bring nutria to the table for the rest of the country. The man largely responsible for making alligator an acceptable treat and a former commandeur des Cordons Bleus in Paris, Parola is a spokesman for the Wildlife & Fisheries Bureau and Louisiana's unofficial "ambassador of cuisine." After a test trial in his own kitchen, Parola declared the nutria tasty and persuaded 10 top Louisiana restaurants to put it on the menu.

    "Louisiana is known for its exotic food," he said. "We put crawfish on the table, we put alligator meat on the table, turtle meat. Consumers are looking for new stuff, something out of the ordinary. And this is definitely out of the ordinary."

    By making nutria popular as haute cuisine under its French name, ragondin, Parola hopes to create a market for the rodent as food, encouraging trappers to begin bagging the beady-eyed varmints.

    The state has already declared nutria a game animal, and the meat, which goes for just 50 cents per pound, is processed at a state-contracted facility and inspected and graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bills to create public nutria hunting seasons are flying through the legislature faster than shot from a 12-gauge.

    And, as nutria's proponents repeatedly note, the meat is nutritious. It has more protein and far less fat and cholesterol than just about any other meat, including turkey and chicken.

    Parola estimates it will take about seven years for nutria meat to catch on, slightly longer than it did for reptile meat. He is nonetheless confident it will soon be classified as "a true exotic meat from Louisiana."

    "It's going to be a little harder than alligator because psychologically it's a rat, so people have a tendency to go, 'Oh my God!'" he said.

    And once the U.S. is ready to dig into the latest delicacy, Parola, a true Frenchman, has a couple tips to offer.

    "I recommend a good Merlot with nutria," he said. "A bottle of Chardonnay or Riesling will go pretty good with a nutria cassoulet."
     
  2. Bilal9

    Bilal9 ELITE MEMBER

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    Another SARS/Corona-Virus outbreak waiting to happen.

    Meanwhile, roasted Fruit-bat consumption in China continues unabated...
     
  3. FairAndUnbiased

    FairAndUnbiased SENIOR MEMBER

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  4. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    Delicacy? The 2015 article title is "Nutria: The Other Red Meat"

    This sounds more like they are trying to make a buck off a pest by suckering people into thinking it is some delicacy.

    https://www.wafb.com/story/11602019/china-wants-louisiana-nutria/
    China wants Louisiana nutria
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  5. RoadRunner401

    RoadRunner401 SENIOR MEMBER

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    nutria.jpg
     
  6. Hamartia Antidote

    Hamartia Antidote ELITE MEMBER

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    Apparently the Russians have taken a liking

    https://www.thedailymeal.com/news/travel/river-rat-burgers-are-trending-russian-restaurants/113016
    ‘River Rat’ Burgers Are Trending in Russian Restaurants

    Nutria, also called coypu or "river rats," are large rodents of South American origin raised in many parts of Europe, Asia, and North America, primarily for their fur. Those found in southern Russia weigh around 12 pounds and have commonly been used for their fur in the fashion industry, according to Nutria.com.


    Attempts to promote the use of nutria as meat in Louisiana and elsewhere have not been successful. However, chef Takhir Kholikberdiev of Krasnodar Bistro in Moscow is serving nutria burgers, in which nutria meat is ground into hamburger patties and piled with toppings, according to The Guardian.
     
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  7. Bilal9

    Bilal9 ELITE MEMBER

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    Man - almost looks like a groundhog don't they? But Nutria's are sort of ugly uncouth hick cousin thrice removed...I guess groundhogs are squirrel family and Nutrias are Rat family.

    [​IMG]


    The smallest squirrel family members (Pika) live in colorado, cute li'l suckers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The resemblance to Pikachu is uncanny....
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020