Edit ModuleShow Tags

Finally, A Critter You Can Eat To Extinction—With Pride



Published:

I just got off the phone with Lenny Russo, chef and owner of St. Paul’s Heartland, and he just told me the craziest thing. Now, Heartland, if you don’t know, is the St. Paul locavore extraordinaire restaurant which usually busies itself redefining Midwestern cuisine and saving the planet by only serving foods from within our local foodshed, reviving interest in local ingredients like chokecherries, goose, lake perch, and so on. Okay, okay, the locavore thing—you get it. But get this: The next level in green eating involves driving a critter to extinction, for a good cause.

The critter? The invasive Chinese crayfish that are taking over Wisconsin waters. “The Wisconsin DNR was having a problem with these Chinese crayfish that had gotten into lakes and ponds,” Russo told me. “They’re doing two kinds of damage. One, they’re choking out native crayfish species, and two, they’re voracious eaters, so they’re eating local tadpoles out of house and home, which is devastating frog populations. They asked, ‘Will you take them?’ I said sure.”

And so now, until the lakes freeze, there will be Wisconsin crayfish—invasive, evil, tasty Wisconsin crayfish—on Heartland’s menu, a freemarket solution to an environmental disaster. And you thought the best you could do was to do no harm to the environment. But here you can actually help endangered species by stuffing your pie-hole. And you can lord it over your vegan friends: Oh, you think you have the most virtuous diet? Not any more you don’t!

If you go tonight, Russo thinks the crayfish—which taste just like regular old American crayfish—will be featured in a barley risotto; later in the week they may be in a fish mousse or a salad. When you stick your fork into one, be sure to growl: “This one’s for the Wisconsin tadpoles!” and proceed with extreme vengeance.

And butter.

Heartland
1806 Saint Clair Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 699-3536
www.heartlandrestaurant.com
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Stout-Marinated Grilled Tri-Tip Recipe

Treat dad or any lucky guest to flavorful, juicy beef with a splash of beer in the mix with this recipe from meat expert Bruce Aidells

6 Foods to Pack for the Cabin

Don't head north to the cabin without these delicious necessities

The Driscoll’s Difference

Driscoll’s goes to great lengths to ensure every clamshell on the shelves is packed with only the most flavorful, deliciously ripe berries.

Meet the Joy Makers

Meet the Joy Makers

Back to School Prep! Bento boxes are Easy Breakfasts that can be Prepped Ahead

The strategy for conquering the crazy weekday mornings is the all important prep.

Top 6 Frozen Drinks in the Twin Cities

Find the best spiked slushees and frozen rosé here

Summer Events for Food Lovers

From quirky small town get-togethers to “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” make sure not to miss these summer events celebrating delicious food.

Rosé All Summer

Start by raising a glass to National Rosé Day, but keep it up all summer with one of the most food-friendly wines—plus whip up icy frosé

Review: Red Sauce Rebellion in Excelsior

Excelsior's newest Water Street restaurant brings familiar Italian flavors with a well-executed red sauce
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags