Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Chad Love: The Invasive Species Cookbook?

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

Field Notes
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

January 25, 2010

Chad Love: The Invasive Species Cookbook?

By Chad Love

 
It seems, at least judging by most of the responses to last week's blog, that most guys take the "hey, if they're here might as well hunt them" attitude to invasive species.
 
Then I saw this story and decided to take the question one step further. What invasive species would you consider turning into table fare?
 
From the story:
 
The chef who tried to get us to eat the nutria turns his attention to the invasive carp. Will people buy it?
 
Invasive species are not, by any means, a new problem on American soil. From zebra mussels to boa constrictors, they've been pushing out indigenous animals for centuries. Louisiana chef Philippe Parola, however, has an unusual strategy to get rid of them: putting them in our stomachs. (His oh-so-subtle eating philosophy: "You’ve got to have balls.")...
 
In 1998, the flamboyant Parola was involved in the notorious (and unsuccessful) attempt to make the nutria, a large aquatic rodent pest, into a nationally popular meat. (It probably didn't help that the animal looks like that giant rat from your childhood nightmares.) Now he’s turned his attention to another invasive species, the Asian carp. The large fish, which can reach up to 30 pounds, has muscled out indigenous fish in American waterways, including the Mississippi, and has the dangerous habit of jumping out of the water near moving boats (to see them in terrifying YouTube action click here). Now, working with the state of Louisiana, Parola is hoping to curb its numbers by marketing the fish as a menu item. As part of his outreach, Parola will be promoting the fish to the 1,500 members of the annual National Grocer’s Association convention in Las Vegas.

 
I'm a pretty adventurous eater, so given the right chef, I wouldn't hesitate to give Asian carp a gustatory chance. It's pretty much a given they're here to stay, so surely there's got to be some commercial value to the damn things, right? Considering the way they're spreading, we may not have a choice. So I commend Chef Parola for thinking outside the box. But I have to ask, has anyone ever actually tried Asian carp or nutria? Python? Snakehead? Everyone wonders what the face of hunting and fishing will look like in fifty years. Maybe we should instead be asking what our wild-game cookbooks will look like?

Comments (22)

Top Rated
All Comments
from jeffo52284 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I have never had any of the things you listed but I have to do the same and commend this chef for thinking outside the box. someone will eat it, given the chance i would probably try it, and something has to be done. if you have a better idea im sure its welcome!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I have eaten carp, and if prepared right, it is not bad in fish patties. (Like the salmon croquettes your mother used to make.)Carp has to be pressure cooked because of the numerous small bones, but mixed with onions, and rolled in cornmeal, the patties ain't bad.
Never tried nutria, but some Cajuns eat them and say they are good. Python, I can't see how they would taste much different than rattlesnake, unless they get tough, or gamy smelling as they grow.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Good luck with that. A meal of carp, nutria and buffelgrass. Blech.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

kudzu makes a fine addition to any salad. it doesn't add much in terms of flavor, but it is on par with most other wild greens and is, as we all know, fairly abundant in some parts of the country.

I'd try carp or nutria, for sure. I think I'd rather have a carp from someplace other than the Mississippi River, however.

yrs-
Evan!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Pet food, fish food, and fertilizer. But I understand there is at least one processor doing that with Asian carp already.

If they tell us enough times that it tastes good perhaps we will start believing it. Just don't serve it up next to lima beans and brussels sprouts with fruit cake for dessert.

I think someone is marketing Asian carp as Silverfin. In Europe, I've had it as Riverfish (in a real French restaurant - if the French can't cook it up right then no one can - and they can't). Seems no one can market with the carp stigma. I'll try it again, though. Probably at its best rolled in seasoned flour, deep-fried in old peanut oil, and covered in tartar or hot sauce, in a hoagie bun ... with a hoppy beer chaser.

I have always tried whatever the natives are eating. The only invasives that make me hesitate are sea lampreys, if the head is also served on the platter, and quagga mussels, because of the potential for botulism.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

When I was a kid I'd take the carp up to the nearby Russian settlement and sell them. Carp is used in a traditional Russian dish evidently. At any rate, I'd get 50 cents a fish and in those days 50 cents would buy a box of .22s. I was living large then, and dating myself now.

This may come as a shock to the predominantly whitetail hunter readership of F&S, but here in the west, whitetail is an invasive species. With a general deer license we can shoot a mule deer buck or any whitetail. The Nature Conservancy that would normally never permit deer hunting on their preserve will make the exception for the invasive species of whitetail.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I was collecting python recipes until I found out they're testing positive for high levels of mercury.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from stick500 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

too bad it's nearly impossible to catch the bigheads on hook and line- they would be a blast!
we need more liberal snagging laws in some of the northern states so we can get 'em without nets

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dmayer4741 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Let's not forget the ringneck phesant is an invasive species...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Are we forgetting hogs? They are a real problem and are not native, but are tasty!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Thanks but no thanks that stuff goes under the tomato plants for me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Judd McCullum wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Carp eat just fine. All you need is a fine scoring board, and like MLH said, they make a great fried sandwich. I can't tell much difference between the carp and smallmouth buffalo, but maybe I just like eating garbage fish. Whatever quiets my gut, I suppose.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rugersdad wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

When the guys in my unit got sick of eating MRE's while deployed to Iraq, we saved the seasonings & put it on carp caught from the Euphrates River. We grilled them on a refrigerator rack over an open fire. It was better than another MRE.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from backlash wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I am willing to try just about anything and believe care of the catch and preparation can do a lot, but probably would not become a fan of the carp I have tried unless it was the only fish available... China is sending us a lot of fish these days, maybe we can return the favor and create a market there?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Carp aren't viewed as an eater in the UK either, but all over europe they are, and are available in the supermarket.

Apparently every monastery kept a 'stew pond' full of them before the reformation as there were over 200 holy days where only fish could be eaten. After the reformation they fell from favor.

From what I understand they need to be purged for 24 hours - kept alive in a tank with clean water flowing through it - to get rid of the muddy taste.

SBW

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Ahhh adventure, I personally believe in consuming as many different species as possible. Most Americans eat a very limited list of animal proteins, Beef, chicken and pork.
How are Zebra mussels in a white wine sauce? Thai eat Snake heads and carp is a Polish Christmas feast. Chow down! Nutria can't be that much different than rabbit (but in some places the bunnies are invaders too!)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from olddog22202 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Several years ago my son in law garnered a great nutria recipe and tried it out on the family. Have to admit that once they were in pieces and in a marinade they started to look good and eating them was even better.

Have to admit we never tried them a second time but I have a load of them tunneling into the sides of ditch banks and eating grass I need for the lambs.
Mike M

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sherrill Philip... wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

If you catch carp in the spring time, it doesn't taste that bad. I've had smoked carp is fantastic any time of the year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from crazzycowboy69@... wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

i don't know about every one else. but i enjoy big pythons cooked in a ground oven...if you get enuff meat it may take all night but i think it is worth it...and i you are worried about mercury catch them in the wild but do not kill them feed them for about 60 days that works for me when i eat rattlers that are given to me live...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

In the old days people used to fleece buffalo and carp.Fleecing involved skinning the fish but leaving all the bones in the fish.An early fillet i guess.Ihave eaten buffalo ribs before battered and fried they were quite good.Large bones almost the size of pencils cut in pair and fried.The tail with all of the wire bones was scored with a knife and fried hard i didn't get in on that part.so i guess i would try a carp.I have already tried the nutria and it was not bad at all the cooks of south Louisana can make anything good.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bthomasb1 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

use them for cat food and trapping bait,i hear they are using the nutria for gator food in the zoo's

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from rugersdad wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

When the guys in my unit got sick of eating MRE's while deployed to Iraq, we saved the seasonings & put it on carp caught from the Euphrates River. We grilled them on a refrigerator rack over an open fire. It was better than another MRE.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I have eaten carp, and if prepared right, it is not bad in fish patties. (Like the salmon croquettes your mother used to make.)Carp has to be pressure cooked because of the numerous small bones, but mixed with onions, and rolled in cornmeal, the patties ain't bad.
Never tried nutria, but some Cajuns eat them and say they are good. Python, I can't see how they would taste much different than rattlesnake, unless they get tough, or gamy smelling as they grow.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

When I was a kid I'd take the carp up to the nearby Russian settlement and sell them. Carp is used in a traditional Russian dish evidently. At any rate, I'd get 50 cents a fish and in those days 50 cents would buy a box of .22s. I was living large then, and dating myself now.

This may come as a shock to the predominantly whitetail hunter readership of F&S, but here in the west, whitetail is an invasive species. With a general deer license we can shoot a mule deer buck or any whitetail. The Nature Conservancy that would normally never permit deer hunting on their preserve will make the exception for the invasive species of whitetail.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from dmayer4741 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Let's not forget the ringneck phesant is an invasive species...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jeffo52284 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I have never had any of the things you listed but I have to do the same and commend this chef for thinking outside the box. someone will eat it, given the chance i would probably try it, and something has to be done. if you have a better idea im sure its welcome!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Good luck with that. A meal of carp, nutria and buffelgrass. Blech.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Pet food, fish food, and fertilizer. But I understand there is at least one processor doing that with Asian carp already.

If they tell us enough times that it tastes good perhaps we will start believing it. Just don't serve it up next to lima beans and brussels sprouts with fruit cake for dessert.

I think someone is marketing Asian carp as Silverfin. In Europe, I've had it as Riverfish (in a real French restaurant - if the French can't cook it up right then no one can - and they can't). Seems no one can market with the carp stigma. I'll try it again, though. Probably at its best rolled in seasoned flour, deep-fried in old peanut oil, and covered in tartar or hot sauce, in a hoagie bun ... with a hoppy beer chaser.

I have always tried whatever the natives are eating. The only invasives that make me hesitate are sea lampreys, if the head is also served on the platter, and quagga mussels, because of the potential for botulism.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Carp aren't viewed as an eater in the UK either, but all over europe they are, and are available in the supermarket.

Apparently every monastery kept a 'stew pond' full of them before the reformation as there were over 200 holy days where only fish could be eaten. After the reformation they fell from favor.

From what I understand they need to be purged for 24 hours - kept alive in a tank with clean water flowing through it - to get rid of the muddy taste.

SBW

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

kudzu makes a fine addition to any salad. it doesn't add much in terms of flavor, but it is on par with most other wild greens and is, as we all know, fairly abundant in some parts of the country.

I'd try carp or nutria, for sure. I think I'd rather have a carp from someplace other than the Mississippi River, however.

yrs-
Evan!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I was collecting python recipes until I found out they're testing positive for high levels of mercury.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from stick500 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

too bad it's nearly impossible to catch the bigheads on hook and line- they would be a blast!
we need more liberal snagging laws in some of the northern states so we can get 'em without nets

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Are we forgetting hogs? They are a real problem and are not native, but are tasty!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Thanks but no thanks that stuff goes under the tomato plants for me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Judd McCullum wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Carp eat just fine. All you need is a fine scoring board, and like MLH said, they make a great fried sandwich. I can't tell much difference between the carp and smallmouth buffalo, but maybe I just like eating garbage fish. Whatever quiets my gut, I suppose.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from backlash wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

I am willing to try just about anything and believe care of the catch and preparation can do a lot, but probably would not become a fan of the carp I have tried unless it was the only fish available... China is sending us a lot of fish these days, maybe we can return the favor and create a market there?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from olddog22202 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Several years ago my son in law garnered a great nutria recipe and tried it out on the family. Have to admit that once they were in pieces and in a marinade they started to look good and eating them was even better.

Have to admit we never tried them a second time but I have a load of them tunneling into the sides of ditch banks and eating grass I need for the lambs.
Mike M

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sherrill Philip... wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

If you catch carp in the spring time, it doesn't taste that bad. I've had smoked carp is fantastic any time of the year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

In the old days people used to fleece buffalo and carp.Fleecing involved skinning the fish but leaving all the bones in the fish.An early fillet i guess.Ihave eaten buffalo ribs before battered and fried they were quite good.Large bones almost the size of pencils cut in pair and fried.The tail with all of the wire bones was scored with a knife and fried hard i didn't get in on that part.so i guess i would try a carp.I have already tried the nutria and it was not bad at all the cooks of south Louisana can make anything good.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Ahhh adventure, I personally believe in consuming as many different species as possible. Most Americans eat a very limited list of animal proteins, Beef, chicken and pork.
How are Zebra mussels in a white wine sauce? Thai eat Snake heads and carp is a Polish Christmas feast. Chow down! Nutria can't be that much different than rabbit (but in some places the bunnies are invaders too!)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crazzycowboy69@... wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

i don't know about every one else. but i enjoy big pythons cooked in a ground oven...if you get enuff meat it may take all night but i think it is worth it...and i you are worried about mercury catch them in the wild but do not kill them feed them for about 60 days that works for me when i eat rattlers that are given to me live...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bthomasb1 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

use them for cat food and trapping bait,i hear they are using the nutria for gator food in the zoo's

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment