Invasion of the jellyfish: Is it time to get frying?

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The edible mauve stinger, Pelagia noctiluca, is found in all the world’s warm and temperate oceans

Jellyfish numbers have been increasing rapidly in the Mediterranean and one species that has long been a hazard for bathers there – the mauve stinger – is increasingly being seen around the British Isles. Now one marine biologist says if we can’t beat them we should eat them.

I’m hovering in a makeshift kitchen, watching one of Italy’s most eminent marine biologists gleefully playing chef. Prof Silvio Greco is focused on the bubbling contents of a large pot.

Dressed up for the part in chef’s whites, traditional hat and red apron, the sustainable conservation expert is perfect for the role.

“In this water I have put lemon juice and vinegar. After boiling for a few minutes I will plunge it into this ice,” he gestures, explaining how the hot water both sterilises, getting rid of bacteria, and destroys the stinging poison.

What for some might be food hell has got my tastebuds jumping with curious excitement: we’re about to eat jellyfish. For Greco, it’s not the first time.

“I love seafood,” he beams. “Jellyfish remind me of oysters. When you eat them you experience an explosion of the sea on your tongue. They are, after all, 90% seawater.”

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Alessandro Vargiu / Archivio Slow Food

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Professor Greco swaps his laboratory for the kitchen as he cooks jellyfish

Today he’s enlisted the professional help of restaurant chef Marco Visciola, who confesses he’s never cooked jellyfish before. He’s going…

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