My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Carpe Carp - Part II: I'm Rescued

Sunday Night

As I was walking out of my house to go eat and shop in Burns,  the Fire Manager showed up with another 7 carp, giving me a refrigerator  filled with bloody - figuratively and literally - carp. I decided that: 1) my hands hurt too much to start another long session with these carp - I would do them a little at a time and use them myself. 2) They probably still weren't enough to feed the crowd. 3) And I didn't have enough time to get them ready.

Monday Night

I was invited to come to the get-together with the workshop participants. One of the people I talked with was a man who ran a processing plant in Australia and who is putting in another plant in Minnesota.  I started telling him about my problem with not knowing how to fix carp,  and he said, "Just bring them in and I'll cook them. I'll need some toothpicks, some oil and butter, some flour, an onion, a red and a green pepper, and some salt and pepper.  And of course those fish you have in your fridge."  Wow!  I was energized and ran off to the grocery store, and then gathered up other supplies at home, including frying pans.

Tuesday Morning

Incoming Carp
Part of my help with setting up the workshop room was hauling in the carp and supplies to cook it.  Keith, the Australian, decided he wanted to clean and cook the fish at noon.  The word got out and several of the participants stayed around to watch Keith cut a fillet, then skin it, then cut off boneless parts of it.

Cutting the fillet - skin is on

Cutting the fillet along the ribs - working from front to back and going lower with each pass

Cutting the fillet above the belly

Cutting the fillet off the skin - start at the tail and stretch the skin as you cut flat towards the head
Cutting the boneless portion of the fillet off - this is the part over the ribs
Cutting the boneless shoulder off the fillet.
Trimming out the mud vein - red part
The last cut is a flat cut the leaves the tiny Y-bones behind and ends up with a thin little fillet.

Most of the fish were females and they were mostly eggs - the greenish mass
The heavy white membrane around the air bladder is used to flocculate wine

He dredged these in seasoned flour and fried them in a dab of oil and butter.

He threaded all this on toothpicks and then sauteed the entire kabob

Finished kabobs

Preparing the fish  took him about 3 - 4 minutes a carp. Then another few minutes to prepare everything. AND he cleaned up the kitchen.  I didn't have to do a thing except pass the plates of carp around.  Well, I did go buy him and his friend lunch with their money.  And I meant to help, but by the time I got back, the food was ready to cook and the kitchen clean.

And this past week, I fed every one I could coerce into coming to lunch on carp tacos.  I have a whole host of recipes now since Germans and Asians all eat carp.  It is even kosher.  I'm telling the refuge staff that I plan to work them up to the Chinese special recipe.  You cut the head off a carp and stuff it, then sew the head back on to serve it.

Next personal project - learn to catch my own fish.

And my current big project for the refuge is to make a slide show that will be shown each hour for about 20 - 25 minutes to those people going on the self-guided tour of the refuge.  I'll present it part of the time but someone else will present it when I'm doing other things.  So I'm trying to get the dialog and some music  added to the slide show so it just has to be turned on.

After the show,  we'll hand the participants a CD with directions and details about each site on it ,and they will head off to enjoy the refuge while at the Migratory Bird Festival.  Today I really worked hard - used up one camera battery and most of another getting pictures to use in the blank spots of my presentation. Of course, I couldn't pass up a good picture, so only got half of the drive done. And those two sandhill cranes that claimed the road ahead of me for almost half an hour didn't help my schedule either.