March 15, 2016
By Quinton Phelps
Survey Says?Asian carp populations have exploded and now stretch throughout many large river systems in the central U.S. These non-native invasive species consume large quantities of microscopic plankton, reducing the availability of this food source for native fishes. Jumping carp also pose threats to boaters, and these invaders are knocking at the door of new ecosystems, such as the Great Lakes.
As with other carp species, preconceived notions of poor taste leave the public less than willing to put Asian carps on the table. We conducted a taste test to see how Asian carp stacked up against tilapia and channel catfish, two commonly consumed freshwater species. The test was done by the Missouri Department of Conservation at a Mississippi River Day event at Southeast Missouri State University. Participants, which included a wide demographic from small kids to grandparents, were given an approximately one-ounce serving of tilapia, catfish, and Asian carp, all prepared the same way (either steamed or fried) without knowledge of what species they were eating.
The taste test showed that Asian carp were preferred nearly two to one over tilapia and catfish, regardless of cooking method. Filleting Asian carp boneless takes practice but in short order you can have it mastered.
Check YouTube for a three-part Louisiana Sea Grant video called "Flying Fish, Great Dish" for instructions on how to clean Asian carp, along with recipes.