If your culinary habits often include fish and you’d like to enrich your experience with carp recipes, you’ve come to the right place as we have chosen some of the most popular carp-based dishes to help you diversify your eating routine.
Carp is a part of the family Cyprinidae, a large group of oily freshwater fish native to Europe and Asia. It has white flesh and a strong earthy flavor and it comes in various species. Being enjoyed in many parts of the world, the most popular edible carp species include the Bighead carp, Common carp, Crucian carp, and Mud carp.
The meat is relatively low in fat and has a firm texture. The skin is edible, too, but some might find it less tasty. Each of the common species used as food has a particular taste and texture, though. For instance, the Common carp has a rich and dark flesh whereas the flesh of the Bighead carp is firm and white.
The large-scaled fish grows rapidly, the average carp reaching 14 inches in length. Some of them may even reach 39 inches and 49 pounds. It is the most extensively farmed fish species in the world as well as a popular ingredient in many Eastern European, Chinese, and Jewish cuisines. Since most carp on sale comes from farms, the fish is available year round.
Carps are often sold whole, which means cooking them requires scaling, skinning, and filleting. The fine bones in the fillets must be removed, too, before cooking. Their earthy flavors go well with robust foods. Since carp can be baked, poached, and fried, it is one of the most versatile ingredients used in major cuisines as the ones mentioned above. The secret to cooking carp is not to overcook.
Carp fishing is also a recreational pastime and fishing enthusiasts like to catch the carp themselves. If your fishing lure did its job and you’re now interested in enjoying your catch, you might want to try some of the recipes below.
Baked carp stuffed with mushrooms
This recipe requires one whole fresh Carp (medium sized preferred), half a cup of vinegar, one teaspoon of sugar, half a cup of minced mushrooms, one egg, half a cup of breadcrumbs, one chopped carrot, one chopped onion, one stick of butter, a small cup of breadcrumbs, the juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper.
Start by cleaning and washing the fish well. Use paper towels to dry it and then wash it with vinegar and let it stand for 15 minutes. Use the lemon juice to brush it inside and outside and then rub it with seasonings.
Once you’ve done that, mix the onions, mushrooms, sugar, carrots, and bread crumbs together with a cup of white wine or water. Stuff the whole carp with this mixture. Stir an egg and brush the exterior side of the fish with it. Use the rest of the breadcrumbs and the butter to cover the whole carp. The baking time is one hour.
When it is done, the carp should be placed on a heated platter and garnished with lemon slices or baked potatoes. Mix water, a tablespoon of flour rubbed in butter, and heat them in a pan until the mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper and pour it over the carp.
Broiled marinated carp
If you have little time at your disposal and you want a delicious yet easy recipe, you might want to try this version of broiled marinated carp. You need one pound of fresh Carp fillets, 1/3 cup of oil, half of an onion that you will have to cut into thin rings, two tablespoons of lemon juice, one tablespoon of crumbled basil, three tablespoons of boiled water, and, of course, salt and pepper.
If you want to cut the fishy smell, place the carp in salt water for 10 minutes or so. Then wash it well, rinse it, and dry it using paper towels. Mix the basil, lemon juice, oil, onion, water, salt, and pepper in a jar. You will have to shake the mixture, so it is better to go for a jar that comes with a tight-fitting lid.
Pour the marinade over the carp fillets and let it marinate at room temperature for an hour or so. Place a buttered foil in the broiler pan, place the carp fillets, and pour marinade over. You should broil the carp about 4 inches above the heat source for approximately 10 minutes. Serve it with rice or mashed potatoes.
Moroccan poached spicy carp
Just like the previous recipe, this requires little time and it is easy to cook. You need a fresh Carp (one pound), three tablespoons of oil, two tablespoons of parsley, one chopped onion, eight cloves of chopped garlic, two tablespoons of tomato sauce, two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and coriander or cumin.
Cut the fishy smell with salt water like we mentioned above and clean the fish thoroughly. Fry the onion and the parsley until the onion gets soft. Add all the other ingredients and water, stir them until they are blended, and cook the sauce for 5-10 minutes. Then poach the carp in this spicy broth for 25 minutes.
Pasta with canned carp
If your fishing bait didn’t get you that fresh carp you wanted, learn that you can go for some simple recipes with canned carp. You need 8 ounces of pasta and one can of flaked carp. Cook the pasta you’ve chosen according to the instructions on the package. Then cook 8 slices of bacon until they get crisp.
Drain them and keep two tablespoons of bacon fat to sauté the garlic, sugar, oregano, and onion. Drain the ingredients off fat. Mix a package of white sauce with one cup of Parmesan cheese, one tablespoon of garlic powder, sugar, onion, the crisp bacon, and the canned carp. Cook the entire mix until it gets thick. Pour it over the hot pasta and serve.
Now that we’ve surely managed to make you hungry and ready to do some cooking of your own, we’ve come to the conclusion that adequately preparing a fish is not something that a lot of people know.
With Food Network and all the cooking shows on TV these days, those guys sure make it look easy. However, things are not always so simple as the process of scaling, skinning, and filleting a fish does require some practice before one can do it fast and easy.
As a result, we thought it would be best if we also give you a crash-course in preparing your catch and making it as edible as it can be. Since we’re talking about carps, it can get pretty delicious!
Starting with fresh carp
A rule of thumb for pretty much any fish is that if you have a fresh one that you just brought home, you will want to cook it as soon as possible in order to preserve all the flavor and taste. Seasoned anglers even bring the catch home alive sometimes, as this is believed to be the absolute freshest way to cook and eat fish.
If you’ve managed to acquire a new carp recipe and you want to cook the thing whole, you can even opt to let it live in a big tub of fresh water beforehand. If you can do this, you will make sure that you will clean out the “mud vein” and have a better-tasting fish when you do begin the process of crafting your delicious artwork.
Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in said tub of water every day, and don’t forget to do it because it is quite important. Salt will help speed up the process of cleaning, as long as you do not feed the animal which we feel needless to even point out. Don’t feed the fish you intend to cook in a few hours.
When the time comes, the safest way to do it would be to pin the carp against the side of the tub with one hand and stun it by making use of a hammer or something similar. When it’s all set and done, the fish has to be gutted and then scaled in order to adequately prepare it for the cooking process.
Since we’re not exactly talking about the smallest fish in the pond, expect carp scales to be very large, over ½ inch wide. As a result, scaling the fish can be easier when compared to smaller breeds but you still need to know what you are doing in order to make it work.
The best way is to take a very sharp knife and draw it across the body from head to tail while trying to apply an even pressure everywhere the knife passes. Press the blade across every scale in order to dislodge it. If you do it right, you should manage to accomplish the task from the first time. If not, try again until the entire fish is clean.
Carefully rinse the body and throw the scales away since you won’t have any use for them. As a side note, Chinese culture offers a tremendous amount of respect for carps as a food source and, since this species has the ability to jump very high out of the water, the Chinese over picture them jumping over gates when depicting a jump in wealth or status.
Every good cook knows that the cleanup process that has to be done after the meal is finished is equally important. As such, you should try and make as little mess as possible, even when cooking something as delicate as a fish.
To minimize your efforts, you can fillet the carp before beginning the gutting process. What you will want to do is begin by cutting into the meat found behind the gills, again with a very sharp knife. If God ever made one task that cannot be accomplished with a dull knife, it has to be filleting a fish.
When you’ve done that, the next step is to carefully slice to the backbone and ribs until they are exposed. Once you’ve made the cut, lift and slice with the same amount of care toward the tail. When that’s finished, flip the carp over and start the process again on the other side. If you’ve not gutted it yet, be careful and try not to pierce the body cavity.
Skinning a carp fillet
Generally, a fish fillet can be grilled with the skin on without any issues, as is the case when cooking salmon. However, this is not the case with a carp as it has what is known as a “mud vein” just under the layer of skin and you will want to remove it if you are to get as tasty a lunch or dinner as possible.
With the meat-side up, carefully cut along the width at one end of the fillet until the gap is large enough that you can lay your knife sideways. The pressure should be applied toward the cutting board using long strokes of the knife. Your non-dominant hand should be holding the skin back in order to complete the process.
Removing the mud vein
Now comes the time for the dreaded mud vein. However, removing it is not so hard as you simply need to make a v-cut on either side of the dark, lateral line. With the blade of your knife, remove the meat and vein running along it and you’re done!
All set and done!
Once that chore is over, you’ve pretty much prepared your carp and are now ready to begin the cooking process in whichever way you like best. What we like to do is serve it with some boiled potatoes along with parsley and melted butter, sometimes adding some spinach for the taste.
One thing that you mustn’t forget though is that these fillets still come with one layer of pin bones in them. You can remove them before the meal with a pair of tweezers or simply toss them away while eating.