Edit ModuleShow Tags

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


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.

1806 Saint Clair Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 699-3536

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

Pineapple in Every Bite Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Enjoy this twist on the classic cake with chunks of sweet, juicy pineapple maximizing the fruit-to-cake ratio in every taste

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags