Lionfish Sliders, Scotch Bonnet Aïoli, Pickled Vegetables, Avocado, and Herbs

Adapted by
March 2014
Yield: 12 sliders


Quick Pickled Vegetables
2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig thyme
1 small red onion, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 carrot, julienned
Scotch Bonnet Aïoli
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 scotch bonnet chile, seeds removed
½ cup shishito pepper, seeds removed
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups canola oil
Fried Lionfish
vegetable oil
Twelve 3-ounce lionfish fillets, pin bones removed
kosher salt
black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
To Assemble and Serve
12 potato rolls, halved
1 cup picked cilantro leaves
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup baby arugula
3 limes, cut into wedges
3 ripe avocados, sliced


For the Quick Pickled Vegetables:
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, bay leaves, and mustard seeds in a medium, nonreactive pot. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Put the thyme and vegetables in a heatproof, nonreactive container and pour the hot liquid on top. Toss to evenly coat; the vegetables should be completely submerged in the liquid. Cover and cool to room temperature.

For the Scotch Bonnet Aïoli:
In a food processor, combine garlic, peppers, and lemon juice; purée until smooth. Once puréed, add the egg yolks and salt then run the food processor until the egg yolks are whipped and well incorporated into the pepper mixture. While the food processor is running, combine the two oils and slowly incorporate them into the processor in a thin stream. Season with salt.

For the Fried Lionfish:
In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350ºF. Season lionfish filets with salt and pepper; then dredge in flour. Fry fillets until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

To Assemble and Serve:
Dry toast potato rolls on a griddle. Liberally spread Scotch Bonnet Aïoli on both sides of the rolls. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cilantro leaves, scallions, and arugula and dress with a strong squeeze of fresh lime juice. Assemble each slider by placing the Fried Lionfish and then avocado on the bottom half of the rolls. Top with Quick Pickled Vegetables and Cilantro-Arugula mixture. Place the top half of the roll on top and secure with a sandwich pick.