You might have heard other people tell you that carp weren’t worth eating. Maybe you have even thought this yourself, but you have reasons that carp is considered a delicacy in Asia.
Are carp worth eating? Carp taste good if they come from clean water, and you prepare them correctly. However, this depends on what they eat, and you don’t want carp that comes from muddy water. Good preparation and cooking techniques also make a big difference.
Special Love for Carp with Bowfisherman
As a bowfisherman, you shoot a lot of carp, and I personally love the taste of carp, but you have a lot of people who don’t like the way it tastes. I will tell you that it depends on the source from where the carp came from, and it will also depend on how you prepare the carp. Overall, carp taste particularly well when you have smoked them.
Most Hated Fish in America
For a long time, carp have been vilified as a less desired fish except among a few select groups of people like bowfishermen and American Asians. In some cases, the vilification of the carp came with good reason. They tasted a carp that was terrible, and they never wanted to try it again. However, I will say that you should try this fish through multiple cooking techniques to learn if it is a good choice for you.
Remove the Mud Vein
One of the parts of the meat responsible for a muddy flavor, carp have a mud vein underneath the skin worth removing to improve the flavor. As you have the meat side up, you will take your fillet knife and gently remove the mud vein of the carp. If you don’t remove this part of the meat, you will have a higher chance of getting the infamous muddy flavor.
Carp Caviar Becoming Popular
Popular opinion about the carp within the United States has begun to shift, and carp eggs have more commonly been used for caviar. I have found that carp eggs make reasonably good caviar, and some people have even bragged how carp caviar tasted as good as beluga caviar or Russian caviar.
How Does Carp Taste?
When you take the right species of carp from the right source of water, you get a good flavor. Remember: These fish are scavengers, and that could be one of the reasons that they don’t taste as good in polluted water.
As you first bite into the meat, you will notice an oily flavor. Even despite what a lot of people have said, the oily flavor isn’t what causes the taste of the mud.
In fact, the muddy flavor comes as a result of a stress reaction with the fish.
When it comes to the oily part of the meat, this can make for a great flavor when it gets done correctly. With the right cook, the meat comes out tasting flaky, moist and with a subtle flavor that tastes wonderful. Meanwhile, when cooked correctly, it removes the muddy flavor altogether.
How to Get the Carp to Taste Right
What’s the secret to getting carp to taste good? The trick is that as soon as you have shot a fish or reeled one in, you should put it on ice or a mix of ice and water. That’s because this limits the blood flow to the rib meat and helps to preserve the flavor through stopping the stress reaction from having as strong of an effect.
The second biggest rule to getting your carp to taste good comes from fishing for them on clean sources. Carp will often eat on the vegetation, which makes their meat susceptible to pollution. As you can imagine, you don’t want to eat this. In the past, they brought carp to the US as a way of trying to control the foliage in US waters, but they saw it backfire.
Universally Eaten Fish
One of the things that is peculiar about the United States is that unlike the rest of the world, they don’t like to eat carp. On a global level, carp is popular in Asia, Europe and parts of Africa.
Prepare Your Carp
Before you start cooking it, you will want to wash the carp of all slime. This will help it to taste better later. After you have done this, you will have to descale the carp, which can be a rather tricky process because the scales of this fish are big. You might do this with a knife to get under the scales, and you will follow the backbone from the tale to the skull.
Next, you will open up the belly, and you will use the pliers to slowly pull away the skin. In the next step, you will cut the fillets. Important to note, the back meat of the carp has become the most prized part of all the carp.
The correct filleting of a carp can make a big difference in how good it tastes. In addition, it improves the edibility of it.
You could choose to soak your carp in saltwater like you might with some of the other fish species, but I have found that you’re better off putting it back on ice because of how you don’t have a great benefit to soaking it. This won’t change the flavor. Shortly after you have cooked them, you will want to put it on the grill or in the fry pan to give it the best taste.
To learn how to better fillet a carp and for the best recipe that I have found, check out this article that I had previously wrote here.
Size Matters When Eating Carp
Size does make a difference when it comes to eating carp and whether or not you can eat the carp. In general, larger carp won’t taste as good as the smaller carp. The overall flavor doesn’t taste as good. You could say the same for catfish. The bigger the catfish, the less good that it will taste.
In general, the rule with either of these fish is that the larger the fish gets, the worse that it will taste.
Why do larger carp and catfish not taste as good? As the fish starts to age, it will get larger, and it will become more course, have a stronger flavor and have a heavier texture.
Just because the flavor gets stronger as the fish ages doesn’t always make it less appealing. A large part of this will also depend on your personal preferences.
Nevertheless, the other reason you don’t want an older fish might be more difficult to look past. The second reason that you don’t want an older fish comes from the fact that older carp will have a tougher meat to chew on.
Carp can be worth eating, but you have a lot of people who have had a bad experience with carp meat, which has given it a bad name. Through the proper preparation and filleting of your carp meat, it can go a long way to helping it taste better. Getting an appreciation for carp is sometimes an acquired taste and not everyone will like it, but before you give up on it entirely, you owe it to yourself to have it prepared and cooked correctly.