Much to the chagrin of my wife and kids, I’m always on the look-out for oddball fish recipes. And while they’ve survived my attempts at do-it-yourself lutefisk and reluctantly sampled lake trout livers, fish balls (not what you think) and fried roe, this culinary curiosity may get me a night in the box ...
Drum roll, please: The “Prairie Seafood” Challenge!
Fact: The common carp was originally brought to North America in the mid-1880s as a much-prized and nutritious food source for European immigrants. But at some point around the turn of the 19th century the fish’s food potential was confused with its ability to thrive in turbid and polluted waters. Since then, the common carp has been deemed pisci non grata by all but a common-sense minority.
However, in recent years American anglers have begun to figure out what European anglers have known for a long time—carp have Olympian, drag-busting shoulders that rival just about any fish that swim. The term "Nebraska bonefish" is used by some.
While American anglers may be getting hip to the fish's untapped sportfish potential, most would rather starve than eat one.
But just why is it? It's certainly not to protect the fishery—at least not in the U.S.
Is it cultural? Psychological?
According to statistics, there are more carp eaten globally than any other fish. The rest of the world can't be wrong, can they?
That said, I encourage to take the Prairie Seafood Challenge and report back your findings!
First off, though, if you’ve never cleaned and scored a carp, make sure to watch this video!
And, not sure how to cook carp? Give this recipe a shot. Worst case scenario is you've got a batch of hollandaise to lather on some eggs or a big juicy steak!
STEAMED CARP WITH HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
3 pounds of fresh carp
1 medium onion, sliced
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
3 whole peppercorns
Pour water into poacher or large skillet to depth of ½-inch. Add onion, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil. Place carp on greased rack, set into skillet, cover and cook until it flakes easily (about 20 to 25 minutes).
Drain and serve with hollandaise sauce. Not sure how to make hollandaise? Watch this.
(recipe from 101 Favorite Fish Recipes by Dr. Duane R. Lund)
For more information on the history of carp in North America, please follow this link to a series of articles that gets it right.
Slack is evil; tight lines,