The biggest problem with cleaning and eating Asian carp is that they are an extremely bony fish. Looking at one flayed open on a cutting board, tiny white bones permeate almost every inch of the meat.Looking back, it probably would've been easier (and tastier) to travel to Chicago. Then again, that fish reeked so horribly my stomach turns at the thought of eating it as a ceviche.
Allen and Chapman have both come up with their own methods of cleaning the carp. They have posted step-by-step photo guides to salvaging as much boneless meat as possible on the Illinois Bowfishers' website.
Since Chapman scores the meat with a fillet knife, a tedious process, I elect to try Allen's method on my fish, a silver carp about two feet long. After discarding the guts (the carp smells twice as bad inside as it does out), I follow the instructions and start by cutting off the bottom and top thirds of the fish, leaving just the rib cage. After an exasperating, gag-inducing, half-hour long process, I'm left with eight thin strips of meat, each with a single thick rib bone in the center. Allen refers to these as "carp pork chops."
In the end, a relatively large carp is reduced to half a plate's worth of fish sticks. Breaded, fried and drizzled with lemon juice, silver carp tastes just like tilapia or any other cheap, white-fleshed river fish.
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