Last year I had a thought about trying to target some of Minnesota's rough fish and see if I could cook them in a way that was appealing. As it turned out all of my efforts to catch a carp or bullhead were fruitless and I never got the opportunity to try. This year however, I got the opportunity to target some of these fish, literally. I have wanted to try bow fishing for several years and was actually searching through craigslist for an old bow when I came across the add for Scales-n-Tales guide service. Derek Sanderson runs Scales-N-tales bow fishing guide service, and after a few e-mails with him I was all set up for my first bow fishing trip.
When I told Derek that my intent was to eat these fish, I think he was as curious as I was about how I was going to do that. When I first contacted Derek I was thinking I was going to be going out in the day and shoot carp in the shallow areas of the lake. Derek explained to me that for beginners it is a much better experience at night, so we met at 830 p.m. on a Tuesday and went over a few basics before setting out for the evening. Derek's boat is set up with a large platform on the front of the boat and underneath the platform are lights that are aimed down at the water. Once the lights are on it illuminates an area around the boat about 30 feet in circumference. It was amazing what we could see, thousands of fish, mostly small pan fish but lots of other species and a few very large turtles. For a complete write up of my trip and a tasty recipe for carp ceviche check out Simple, Good and Tasty.
When i brought home the fish I had to watch several YouTube videos on how to clean a carp. I have eaten carp several times but this was the first time I have ever tried to clean one and cook it myself. The first thing I was going to try was to fry a few pieces just to get a feel for how it tasted. I removed the fillets and cut them into nugget sized pieces and soaked them in Buttermilk and hot sauce, After a quick soak I rolled them in seasoned flour and fried them in oil. I made sure to cut the nugget thin so that the oil would have a chance to help soften the bones. Carp are extremely bony fish and I lack the talent or know how to fillet them with out bones. The finished product was delicious, the meat was firm and had a very pleasant, mild flavor. All in all I was very impressed with the whole trip. I will definitely be setting up another trip soon.
Buttermilk Fried Carp
1 pound of carp fillets either scored or cut into nuggets
8 ounces buttermilk
2 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
pinch of salt and pepper
soak the carp in the buttermilk and hotsauce mixture for 5 -10 minutes then coat with the flour mixture. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry until golden brown. season with salt to taste.