How To Eat Sea Lamprey, The Most Hideous Fish In The World

"Take a living lamprey, and let him bleed at the navel, and let him bleed in an earthen pot."

If you're looking for something truly gruesome to serve at your Halloween potluck, we give you the humble sea lamprey.

It might not be a hit, but people will surely remember it.

Eating sea lampreys has been a French delicacy since the middle ages -- King Henry I of England is said to have died from a "surfeit of lampreys" after eating so many -- and it's made by soaking the hideous-looking sea lamprey (an eel-like cartilaginous parasitic fish) in its own blood for a few days.

"They’re not a bad food fish. They hardly have any bones. You cut them into chunks,” Lars Rudstam, director of the Cornell Biological Field Station in Bridgeport, New York, told "They have a different taste. Like squid."

As babies, sea lampreys are blind and feed by filtering micro-organisms through the water. But as adults, they attach themselves to other fish (or even dolphins) by “using their sucking mouthparts” ― a jawless mouth full of teeth ― “to attach themselves to the host’s body,” the Alaska Department of Fish and Game explains. Oh and by the way, they can kill up to 40 fish a year.

Oh ― and they breed when a male wraps himself around a female to squeeze out her eggs.

So why would anyone want to eat them? A writer for Vice, who attended a dinner held by the Sea Lamprey Society in Denmark, said lamprey bordelaise was “unbelievably delectable; it didn’t taste like either meat or fish.”

The recipe below for Sauce Pour Lamprey comes from “A Curious History of Food and Drink” by Ian Crofton, transcribed from the mid-fifteenth century book, “A Noble Boke of Cokery.”

We dare you to try it and not feel like a witch.

MychkoAlezander via Getty Images

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