No doubt, you can find carp swimming everywhere in our nation’s lakes and rivers, but they’re not usually considered a prize catch. Archers may pursue them with bowfishing tackle, but at times, this catch is abandoned for tastier fish. However, you can actually eat these bottom-feeders! You just need the right carp creation to suit your tastebuds. Here’s a few recipes you’ll want to try!
Deep Fried: If you’ve spent any time in the upper-Midwest, you’ve probably participated in the weekly ritual known as a Friday fish fry. The most common fish used in these delicious meals are cod, pollock, walleye and perch. While these species definitely offer a more neutral flavor than the sometimes muddy-tasting carp, frying fish is a delicious way to prepare a meal. Use a store-bought batter, or try pulverized crackers to create a breading, and then pan- or deep-fry the filleted white meat.
Baked: Baking fish is a healthier alternative to deep-frying it, and with the right seasoning and prep work it can be just as tasty. Start with a boneless fillet, and season it with the old stand-by of salt, pepper and lemon. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake it for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with butter.
Pan-Seared: If you enjoy grilled steak (especially that caramelized, charbroiled crust), consider pan-searing your carp to achieve a similar texture and flavor. Start by adding a liberal amount of olive oil in a pan on the medium-high setting, and let the oil get very hot. Add your desired seasonings, such as salt, pepper and thyme. You’ll hear a distinct sizzle when you add your fillet to the pan. Let that side sear for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet. Then, flip it over and do the same to the other side until the meat is white and flaky.
Carp Tacos: You’ll often find fish tacos on the menu at your favorite restaurants, but did you know you can substitute the usual offerings with carp? Simply fry or bake the fish until it’s white and flaky, and then garnish your tacos with spinach, avocado, tomato and fresh-squeezed lime.
Whether you’re catching fish or hunting wild game, it’s always rewarding to fill your freezer with local, sustainable food sources. Be sure you don’t overlook the carp. This is another good source of protein to shake up your summer diet (not to mention increasing the incentive to spend more time on the water).