A new environmental campaign has caught fire in England. And where there’s fire, there’s stew. Squirrel stew to be exact. The gray squirrel, introduced in England from North America over a century ago, is overrunning the habitat of the native red squirrel (think of Beatrix Potter’s beloved red Squirrel Nutkin). Gamekeepers and hunters are taking aim, and chefs have taken the tiny furry interlopers into their three star kitchens.
At least that’s the story the New York Times is telling this morning. It’s reminiscent of Louisiana’s culinary campaign to save the wetlands by eating more nutria. Remember nutria jerky? How many of the Ind’s readers still eat, if they ever did, nutria sauce piquante? Frankly, as a curious diner, I have eaten many “alternative” meats, squirrel and nutria included. I prefer nutria by a long shot. The meat is clean and white, reminiscent of rabbit. Unlike squirrel, nutria is easy to bag. Unlike squirrel, a single nutria will feed a family of five. Unlike squirrel, nutria is easy to skin. And unlike squirrel, nutria is not so cute and cuddly looking, even as a furry web-footed baby.
At a squirrel tasting, the NYT reports, Nichola Fletcher, a British food writer found “their lovely flavor tasted of the nuts they nibbled.” But upon her next encounter with squirrel, she wrote that they had “a greasy texture and unpleasant taste.” Chef Fergus Henderson, of London’s restaurant St. John told the NYT he sometimes prepares his squirrels “to recreate the bosky woods they come from,” braising them with bacon, “pig’s trotter, porcini and whole peeled shallots to recreate the forest floor.” He serves it with wilted watercress “to evoke the treetops.”
Lyrical. I think in these difficult times maybe it’s time for Louisiana to give nutria another try. And we can kill two or three invasive exotics with one dish. Imagine a roast of nutria, stuffed with zebra mussels and apple snails to recreate the deteriorating marshes they come from, smoked over a fire of tree-smothering kudzu and served on a bed of wilted hydrilla, to evoke our weed-choked lakes. Bon appetite.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.