Tasty Puffer Fish that Won't Kill You

Puffer fish - also called Fugu - contains some of the most powerful toxins on Earth.

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By David Hammond

I don't want you to think that this blog is "all about Carnivore, all the time," but last week when I stopped by Carnivore (1042 Pleasant St., Oak Park) to buy lunch, I picked up some puffer fish ($18/lb).

Being able to buy puffer fish in Oak Park – or anywhere for that matter -- seemed newsworthy. Some varieties of puffer fish – also called Fugu – contain some of the most powerful toxins on Earth. Puffer fish toxins are mostly concentrated in the ovaries, roe, kidney and liver – the liver itself, for instance, contains enough poison to kill five people.

According to Carnivore co-owner Brad Knaub, "We're selling the non-toxic species of puffer fish, and it's totally safe. You would not believe how thoroughly this fish is inspected before it's sold to the public."

Carnivore is selling only the tiny bits of meat around the spinal cord of each fish. We brought it home, breaded it lightly and fried it in butter. It was fantastic, very good fish, with excellent texture, slight sweetness, and deliciously fresh flavor. The fish, according to Eric Williams, Carnivore fish monger, is "fresh, never frozen." It's harvested in Virginia.

"People are sometimes hesitant to try new things," said Knaub, and he understands that hesitancy to try this fish is understandable, confessing he had to dump about half his puffer fish inventory as not enough people bought it.

Carnivore is showing enthusiasm to put unusual fish items in their cooler case. If this sort of thing appeals to you – and I don't mean just puffer fish but any unusual fish species – then you should try to visit their fish section.




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Aqua Man from Maywood  

Posted: November 7th, 2014 2:22 PM

I think I will stick to my carp and buffalo fish i catch out of the des plaines river. seems safer than puffer fish but they looked good in the picture

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