Why Andrew Zimmern Is All About Eating Iguanas

Some might wince at the thought of enjoying a dish made with iguana, but chef Andrew Zimmern is here to challenge that reaction. At the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Zimmern showed an audience how to prepare an iguana in the French meunière technique (via Food & Wine). While this wasn't on the celebrity chef's accord, he still was successfully able to operate on the reptile as he would have with his first subject choice, a Red Lionfish.

Zimmern later said, "... The fact that this is a reptile — and we don't eat reptiles in this country — is shocking to some people. I don't do this to shock; I think we all need to know where our food comes from, just like we do chickens." This point mirrors his general sentiment on "Bizarre Foods," where he samples a variety of "unconventional dishes" from around the world. However, aside from wanting to branch out, Zimmern discloses that there is another benefit to eating iguanas.

Eating iguana could combat food insecurity

As stated before, "Bizarre Foods" host Andrew Zimmern originally intended to show the crowd how to prepare a Red Lionfish through a segment called, "There Are Other Fish in the Sea: Falling in Love with Invasive Species." But instead of being given a sea creature, he was brought an iguana instead. Many might think that lionfish and iguanas don't have much in common, but they're actually both invasive species.

Zimmern told Food & Wine that due to cultural differences, iguanas are not often welcomed as food in certain parts of the world, yet are discarded in places of high food insecurity. As always, Zimmern encourages people to embrace trying different types of foods, even if that is an iguana, who are detrimental for many ecosystems anyways (via Ending Non Native Destructive Species).

So there comes the question, "How would you even eat an iguana?" Broward Palm Beach New Times provides six different ways to cook up the animal, including making a stew or frying it whole. Or, do what Zimmern did and prepare it using the same steps as any poultry item.