22 January 2010

Newest Fish Trend: Silverfin Asian Carp, 2 Recipes



Silverfin Fish Cakes

From Denny: Looks like it's official on two fronts. Louisiana is known as the place of "if you can catch it,you can cook it and eat it!" The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has come up with a Silverfin fish promotional campaign to promote an unusually tasting fish that is quite delicious.

Developing the New Fish Product

Rivere Foods, Inc. of Paincourtville, Louisiana is the processor of these new to the market products. They are offering Silverfin Fish Cakes just in time for the Lenten season here in Catholic south Louisiana. The first local supermarket to carry them will be Rouse's.

Chef Philippe Parola is the developer of the unusual product and consultant to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Chef Parola was fishing for gar near Pierre Part when two huge fish, weighing each 12 pounds, literally jumped into his fishing boat, almost tagging he and his partner. The fish were quite active, leaping all around his boat as soon as they arrived at their fishing spot. OK, I'm not a fishing person as I'd rather cook and eat than catch and clean but wow! that sure sounds unusual. It's as if the fish are saying, "Catch me!"

Chef Parola immediately treated the new fish like a similar one of which he was familiar, saltwater jack fish in Venice. Apparently, jack fish are far better tasting if immediately upon catching if you cut off the tails and bleed them out before chilling. He noticed how firm and pink the meat, thinking it would be interesting to cook it and found a wonderful surprise when he did. Chef says the meat tastes like a cross between crabmeat and scallops.

Asian Carp: Invasive Pest or Blessing?

Eventually, from his research he located what family the fish belonged to and it was Asian carp. In America Asian carp have become a serious pest and there are eradication programs in effect because it is such an invasive fish. The Asian carp is rapidly replacing native fish in the Mississippi River, reaching out in the River's tributaries and distributaries too. In the Midwest fishery experts are worried the Asian carp will migrate into the Great Lakes.

Typical of Louisiana we don't fight the change but rather make use of it. "Why kill these fish and relegate them to trash fish status?" asks Chef Parola. "The Asian carp is delicious tasting. It’s simply under-utilized, undiscovered."

LDWF and Parola Partnered to Market Silverfins

Chef Parola offered his personal research and expertise to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a way to develop a marketing plan to sell the carp. Why did the Fisheries department take him up on it? Easy, "Our experience with eradication is it doesn’t work. We think creating a financial incentive for harvesting the fish is a far more effective control. And that’s what LDWF wants to do … increase demand for Asian carp and build a viable fishery based on the fish,” Gary Tilyoun, LDWF inland fisheries administrator, commented.

Asian Carp and Dilemma of Removing Bones in Processing

One obstacle to marketing the fish is that they are known for having "floating" bones that are difficult to remove. There are two varieties considered marketable: silver carp and bighead carp.
Louisiana people like to problem solve. Chef Parola asked around with crawfish and crab processors about how to steam process this fish in the hopes of removing the bones.

Important for Local Fish to Take Place of Imported

The reason Chef Parola is pursuing marketing this fish is as he says, "As a chef, I see the need for a domestic fishery, a source free of pesticides and antibiotics, a need for a good fish to take the place of imported fish, which we cannot monitor for contaminants, a fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the good fish oils that promote heart health. Really, Asian carp is an answer to a chef and restaurateur’s prayer."

Previous Attitudes Toward Carp

Another issue for marketing the Asian carp is that Southerners associate it with the smelly muddy common carp that registers high on the ugly meter. The collective decision between the fisheries department and Parola is to designate this carp as "Silverfin" fish. Certainly sounds more attractive.

Website and Resources to Find Out More About Silverfin Fish

LDWF is promoting Silverfin fish to both recreational fishermen and to the food service industry. Want to know how to handle this fish? Check out their website, go here.

Note to chefs: You can also purchase Silverfin fish boneless flakes which closely resemble lump crabmeat. Soon that product will be available from New Orleans Fish House and Louisiana Seafood Exchange so stay tuned. Rouse's Supermarkets will be selling Silverfin products like fish cakes and fish dip by around Lent, 17 February 2010. Tony' Seafood Market & Deli will be selling raw Silverfin fish fillets as early as this next week.

Check out the recipes for this new fish which tastes like a cross between crabmeat and scallops!


Silverfin Cakes

From: Rivere Foods, Inc.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. silverfin white meat
4 ozs. unsalted butter, melted
1 tbl. Dijon mustard
2 eggs, divided
1 tbl. lemon juice
1/2 cup (or enough to bind) bread crumbs
Seasoning and hot sauce
Seasoned flour
Oil for frying

Directions:

1. Poach or steam silverfin meat until fully cooked.

2. Break fish into pieces being sure to remove all bones.

3. Put meat into bowl and add melted butter, mustard, 1 beaten egg and lemon juice. Mix well. Add bread crumbs and season, as desired, with seasoning and hot sauce. Form into small cakes.

4. Beat remaining egg in a separate bowl. Dip cakes in egg wash and roll in seasoned flour. Fry, drain and serve.

***

Silverfin Fried Strips

From:
Rivere Foods,Inc.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

16 strips of silverfin fish (boneless, if possible)
2 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup seasoned fish fry meal or seasoned flour
Oil for frying
Pickapeppa mango sauce for dipping, optional (from Jamaica)


Directions:

1. Inspect strips of silverfin and remove bones.

2. Beat eggs and half-and-half together. Place strips in egg and half-and-half mixture.

3. Remove fish and coat with seasoned meal or flour.

4. Fry fish in hot oil until done. Serve with Pickapepper mango sauce for dipping.


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