A Crowd of Carp   Leave a comment

There are plenty of fish in the river, but it’s usually so murky you don’t see them.  A couple of days ago, though, I noticed movement in the water, and looked out to see a large carp finning slowly downriver.

He doesn’t look very big in this photo, but he’s a long way out; better than halfway across this arm of the river.

After that, I started noticing activity in the water closer to shore.  There was a group a few feet from the bank, ranging from about a foot to eighteen inches long.  I guess they’re getting ready to spawn.

They’re pretty hard to see.  Not only is the water murky, but they were stirring up the mud at the bottom as they moved.  They would have been even harder to spot, but some of them were white.  Perhaps they were koi that had gotten too big for someone’s pond.

They were plenty large enough to be worth catching, but carp don’t have a reputation for being delicious — not to mention I’m not sure anyone would want to eat something taken out of the warm, nearly stagnant water.  When I told Billy about it later, he passed on a recipe someone had given him for carp.  It went something like this:

First, catch your carp.  Clean it, fillet it, and pick out as many of the sharp little bones as possible.  Make your favorite marinade, and put your fish in it for at least three days, changing the marinade daily.  Then wrap the carp in foil and bake it at 400 degrees for half an hour.  Unwrap it, put it on a plank, and cut it up fine.  Then throw away the carp and eat the plank — it’ll taste better.

I once heard carp described as tasting like cotton wool with pins in it.  It’s not considered a gourmet item.  I’ve read that the Chinese really know how to cook it, though, and it’s considered lucky.

Maybe you need luck to survive eating it.

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Posted June 19, 2012 by stablewoman in Kern River

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