When my friend Debbie said she had a spare 3 kilograms of smoked carp, a creative cooking idea sprang to mind!
It seems Debbie has a friend who loves to fish, and Debbie loves to smoke food (in a smoker, not a pipe). Debbie's friend reluctantly catches lots of carp and has no use for them, so Debbie explained how he could take an esky full of icy water with him on fishing trips and put the carp straight into it as he caught them. This method stops the carp from releasing hormones resulting in them tasting muddy. It has the added benefit of a more humane death for the fish.
So, of course, there are benefits all round: our River Murray has less carp (considered a pest), Debbie's friend unloads his unwanted fish, the fish die humanely and Debbie gets free food!
Although considered a pest in Australia (they must not be returned to the water when caught here), carp are a delicacy in numerous Asian and European countries.
Having tasted Debbie's various carp sausages, patties and thai-style fishcakes before, I know their meat can taste delicious when incorporated with the right ingredients.
Debbie's home-made carp pepperoni
So I eagerly accepted the offer of smoked carp and proceeded to prepare my chosen dish: Smoked Carp Pate
My first challenge was to get rid of the bones as the reports I had heard were true - it is indeed a bony fish.
My mother had only recently given me her olden-days mincer and when I brought it home I didn't think I'd find a use for it this century. However, it came into it's own as I began to mince the carp and tiny bones were separated from flesh.
I figured if there were small bones remaining they would be ground to infinity when I blitzed the flesh in the blender.
I found a recipe on the internet involving smoked fish, cream cheese and horseradish. I put all ingredients into the blender and blitzed then tested for bones.
Smoked Carp Pate with Pumpernickel Bread
The result was impressive, if I do say so myself. A delicious smokey-flavoured fish pate, with no apparent bones, that tastes wonderful with pumpernickel bread.