Stir-Fried Aromatic Crocodile

Following on from buffalo and ostrich, crocodile and alligator are the latest low-fat animal proteins to be touted in the high street. Alligator and crocodile are very similar in taste and texture, the meat in both taken from the tail and usually pre-packed in trimmed fillets.

Enthusiasts describe the flavour as being like lobster with the texture of lean chicken. Ernest Matthew Mickler says of Florida alligator in his book White Trash Cooking: ‘If you haven’t eaten ‘gator tail before, you’re in for a surprise. It’s gonna taste a little bit like pork, a little bit like chicken, and a little bit like fish. It’s so good you’ll wanna lay down and scream.’

In Southern Florida they cook farmed alligator like a pork chop ‘salt, pepper and flour each piece of tail and then fry in hot grease until golden brown.’ Perhaps, at £ 10 a pound, this is rather a brutal treatment. Instead, stir-fry with some aromatic ingredients and serve with boiled basmati rice. If no crocodile is to hand, substitute chicken, lobster tail or peeled tiger prawns.

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Ingredients

  • 115 g/ 4 oz crocodile fillet
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 hot red chilli or ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • handful of coarsely chopped coriander leaves

Method

Cut the crocodile fillet into 4 strips. Top and tail the lemon grass stalk, remove the coarse outer leaf and cut the stalk across into thin rounds. Slice the spring onions across at an angle into 2.5-cm / 1-inch pieces. Smash and chop the garlic clove. Deseed the chilli if using.

Put the sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan and place over a high heat. Add the lemon grass, onions and chilli and stir-fry for 1 minutes.

Add the crocodile fillet and fry for a further 2 minutes, tossing to ensure even cooking.

Add the soy sauce and fish sauce. Stir for 15 seconds, throw in the chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately.

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