Much food is discarded in our community every day. Much more potential food goes to waste as well.
We may not like to talk about it, but many of the doves killed opening weekend were buried or thrown into the trash. It will happen with ducks and deer as well. Then in fishing, there is carp.
Yeah, turn up your nose. We seldom eat carp, but we do make use of them in the garden. Excellent fertilizer.
Carp are a source of food. They are the most prevalent food fish of Europe, and don’t we often get excited about European cuisine?
In Arkansas, some families make use of carp through canning with pressure cookers then preparing fish cakes, fish patties, croquettes or whatever term they use. An alternative is grinding like you would make hamburger meat.
Our objections to carp, outside the “ugly” notion, are that they are bony. Pressure cooking takes care of the little Y-shaped bones. If you have notice a can of salmon purchased at the supermarket, you’ll see small soft pieces of bone, and these don’t detract from the tasty salmon croquettes on the dinner table.
OK, you get a nice, big carp or a neighbor bowfisherman offers you one. With a sharp knife, skin the fish or fillet the fish. A large carp has large ribs, but an electric knife can handle these. Remove the dark red meat down each side. This eliminates much of the “fishy” taste some folks don’t like.
Pressure cook in canning jars or put the meat through a grinder — once or twice. A teaspoon of salt to a pint jar is suggested for canning the carp.
If you’ve got a method or recipe for making cakes, patties or croquettes from salmon, just use it for the carp.
A simple suggestion is to crush a generous amount of cereal flakes — corn flakes, multi-flakes, oak flakes, whatever is handy. Beat an egg or two Mince a little onion. Mix the carp meat, beaten egg, onion add salt, pepper or whatever other spice you like with a little of the crushed cereal and a pinch or two of flour.
Lemon juice can also be added in the making of the cakes. Cavender’s Seasoning is a favorite for many Arkansas cooks also. Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, Mexican seasoning, red pepper by itself can be alternatives for adding to the cakes.
Form the cakes then roll them in the remaining crushed cereal and bake or fry. Yes, they do well baked, and this is healthier for most of us. Cook until crisp and brown. Baking in the oven, about 350 degrees will do it. Time it while watching, then you’ll have a baking time for the next preparation of this dish.
Serve with whatever strikes your fancy – lemon juice, ketchup, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, even mustard.
The fish cakes eat well.
Some fun can be added with a bit imagination and ingenuity. Don’t tell your family or guests, “I’m fixing carp cakes tonight.” No indeed. Make up a story. Create a name for the dish.
Somebody did that with the term “croquette” long ago. Instead of “patty” or “cake,” someone fancied the French verb “croquet,” which means “to crunch,” and applied it to a fish dish.