Lamprey: An Unexpected Freshwater Delicacy

Have you ever heard of lamprey before? Older than the dinosaurs, this prehistoric-looking parasite which inhabits the oceans and freshwater rivers in countries throughout the world is actually a local delicacy in certain places.

Lamprey has actually been considered a delicacy for thousands of years, beginning with the ancient Romans whose emperors seeked out this jawless fish to make dinners for special celebrations.

Love for this scary-looking creature continued into the Middle Ages. In fact, King Henry I of England was reported to have been so fond of the taste of lampreys that he over-indulged while eating them and died as a result of his excess in 1135!

Even in current times, lamprey continues to be a beloved and expensive delicacy. Southwestern Europe, including the countries of France, Spain, and Portugal, remain places where lampreys are still caught by fishermen in the peak season from February to April, and sold as a delicacy.

The most common preparation for the lamprey is the Bordelaise style, which includes taking the animal’s blood and combining it with red wine, garlic, and other spices to make a rich sauce. This is then served with rice.

While it might seem like a stomach-churning specialty, lamprey is a meaty and delicious fish whose special sauce turns it into one of the most unforgettable meals that you will ever experience. Would you try it?