Chef Philippe on Asian Carp
In 1973, a Kansas catfish farmer brought 300 Silver Carp (aka Asian Carp) from China to eat algae from the water of his catfish water tanks. In the following years, these Silver Carp, which we now call Silverfin, escaped into our rivers and are presently becoming the worst nightmare for our national water sports and recreational and commerical fresh water fishing industries. Today, Silverfin are everywhere, swimming from the Mississippi, Missouri, Atchafalya Rivers and so on, up to Nothern States and the Canadian border, down to South Florida.
Considering that plankton is the principal food source for native freshwater species, the silver carp can eat its body weight in plankton, therefore, not only will this nuisance fish deplete habitat for other fish, it could become a disaster for recreation, commercial and tourist economies throughout the eighteen state fresh waterways it has populated .
Over the past 20 years, many different groups including casual cooks, food scientists to entrepreneurs have attempted to cook silver carp. In an effort to overcome aftertaste and complexity of bone structure, only one document was published about the troublesome bone removal. With poor success, silver carp have been labeled trash fish.
Last August, I needed a unique fish to cook with legendary Jeff Corwin of Extreme Cuisine. While fishing for alligator gar in the Atchafalaya River Basin with my Cajun fisherman friend Billy Frioux, two giant silver carp jumped right in our boat, landing at my feet. That is when I discovered that silver carp are in fact, in Louisiana and abundant elsewhere.
My first thought after questioning this airborne fish was "cook the damn thing!"
Being a fisherman I knew that all jumping fish are bloody and need to be bled. Being a chef, I cut the tail fins of each fish and placed them on ice. Back home, after cutting and skinning the huge silver carp, to my surprise the meat was white as snow. Excited with my discovery, I fried a few strips and learned that this fish was excellent eating.
These fish are invading our waterways and threatening native fish species and the entire ecosystem of affected areas. Something must be done before this invasive species completely takes over America's waterways. CLICK TO READ MORE
About the Asian Carp:
"Asian carp" refers to several species of related fish originating from Asia. Two species of Asian carp-the bighead and silver carp-were imported into the southern United States to keep aquaculture facilities clean and to provide fresh fish for fish markets. Bighead and silver carp escaped into the wild in the 1980s and have been swimming northward ever since, overwhelming the Mississippi and Illinois River systems. In some areas, the Asian carp now comprise more than 95% of the biomass (MICRA 2002).
Be Sure to Visit:
Asian Carp Control - the Official U.S. Government website of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
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