In the meantime, are Asian carp good for anything? Well, other countries consider them a delicacy and they are being served in restaurants in the U.S., particularly in the South. People who’ve eaten carp say it is a sweet, un-fishy-tasting meat, much like Talapia or Mahi-Mahi. And because carp don’t eat other fish, they don’t absorb pollutants the way some species do.
One problem is that since carp eat plankton, they are difficult to catch with a rod and reel and another is that they have a different bone structure than other fish we’re more familiar with so if you don’t take the time to do a little research, you’ll have a difficult time filleting them without bones. (There are videos on YouTube that instruct viewers on how to fillet carp).
Despite the complications, carp may eventually serve commercial fishermen as a viable product. Because they are abundant and cheap, carp may be an attractive alternative to fish that is more expensive.
Chef Phillipe Parola has made rather a specialty of carp dishes although he calls it by a more appetizing name, Silverfin. His website includes recipes for Silverfin Provencale, Silverfin Almondine, Silverfin Cakes and Silverfin Fried Strips.
We need to do something about the carp and people need to eat so we may as well try to combine those two needs until we can figure out a better way to rid ourselves of these undesirable invaders. I think our repulsion to them is mostly cultural. We eat a lot of things that are more distasteful. It seems to me that anyone who would eat mackerel or pigs feet or head cheese would give carp a try.
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at email@example.com.