Now, we have all heard that Iguanas are edible, in fact, they have the nickname of “Chicken of the Tree.” While that may be a fact, who among us has truthfully eaten an actual Iguana?
Y’all meet Dr. T . . . A highly educated Anesthesiologist from Louisiana, and an Iguana Chef extraordinaire, who knew.
However, it seems that you can never quite get the Cajun out of the boy who grew up in the Bayou State. Nor can you ever argue with the simple logic that emanates from the Louisiana way of thinking . . . For example:
He cleaned his Iguana in the shower of his Condo!
“Why would you do such a thing I asked? Really, in your own shower?”
“John” he replied with a slow drawl, “Why that’s where da water sprayer is, where else could you spray dem clean?”
Yep, without question, that would have to be the place. It’s simply Logic y’all.
So I asked, how would a Ragin’ Cajun like yourself go about cooking an Iguana in a style that befits a Louisiana native?
Immediately, I was transported back to a scene from Forrest Gump, where Bubba started reciting shrimp recipes, as Dr. T ticked off dish after dish after dish ending with, “Of course John, there’s always Iguana Étouffée!” So without further ado, here is his recipe for Iguana. Bon Appetite.
Iguana Preparation by Dr. T
It all started when my friend J2 gave me a freshly dispatched 4’6” Iguana in the local Publix parking lot. It was a nice one and plump too. I need to clean him and I wasn’t able to find a location at my Condo where I would be able to do this “messy” task outside, so I placed a large cutting board on top of the ice chest in my walk in shower which has a sprayer hose and took care of it. I cut the iguana into pieces that would fit reasonably into a stock pot and headed to the kitchen.
I spent a great deal of my life in Louisiana and cooked a fair bit there, so I blended some of my ideas with the “Island” recipes that tended to contain local peppers and coconut milk. While that sounds delicious, I decided to go simple in this recipe.
I filled a fairly large stock pot with water and added cayenne pepper, habanero hot sauce, sea salt, a lot of garlic, one onion, fair bit of Italian seasoning, a few sticks of celery, ground ginger, ground allspice and fresh lime juice. To this I added all of the cut up Iguana. I covered the pot and put the burner on high heat till the entire pot came to a rolling boil and then reduced the heat so the pot just simmered.
I simmered it for just under two hours, where the meat was beginning to fall off of the bones. Since iguanas can carry salmonella, I waited till this point to taste the broth and the tender Iguana meat it contained. Only now did I adjust the spices and saltiness as I felt necessary for final sauce and plating.
I paired my Iguana with rice pilaf, and baby artichokes. It really was quite tasty, and just fall off the bone good. At this point, like any good Cajun, I shared it with my friends.
Always Yours & Aways Cajun, T.
So there you have it, from what I understand, at least 10 people on Marco Island can now answer the question, “Have you ever actually tasted Iguana?” With a resounding “Yes, I have, and it’s great!”
Note – Since this writing, I have supplied Dr. T with yet another whopping Iguana taken right here on Marco Island. I understand this delectable Iguana version is destined to become a tangy hot mango sauce masterpiece. Julia Child and Gordon Ramsay, move over . . .