**Dec. 28th Update: Thank you for voting this into the Foodbuzz daily top 9! http://www.foodbuzz.com/top9?date=2011-12-28 **
O Christmas Carp! O Christmas Carp!
Radek the Red-Nosed Carp (Do fish have noses? )
Had very shiny scales,
And if you ever saw him,
You would even say he glows.
All of the other Carp
Used to laugh and call him names;
They never let poor Radek
Join in any Carp-y games.
Okay so perhaps those Christmas songs don’t work so well with a carp. You also didn’t come here for imitation Christmas songs, you came for the verdict.
If you remember from the previous post I told you that Czech celebrate Christmas Eve. We celebrate on the 25th, and that is when we made our reservations for. Perhaps some of you thought we would be cooking the carp ourselves? No, I just wouldn’t be able to deliver the necessary blow to the head or watch my hubby do it. Besides have you seen how much those suckers bleed? It’s not a pretty sight at all. My hat goes off to Czechs who stick with tradition and do it all themselves. We left our Christmas carp dinner to the professionals.
Czech tradition is that dinner should not be served until after sunset or after the first star is visible. So we made our reservations for 7 p.m., to follow protocol. We arrived to a full restaurant, which was a pleasant surprise and meant we wouldn’t be the only ones there. First business at had, order some pivo or beer. I had put myself in a state of mind that I would need at least a couple of pivos to get through it. As we waited for our beers to arrive we skimmed over the special Christmas menu. There was the traditional fish soup, The Carp, and for those not daring enough there was a pork cutlet instead. I was determined to eat the carp but I teased my hubby about changing his mind. No, we were both going to get the carp.
As we gave our order to the waitress she gave us a surprised looked followed by a big smile. Perhaps she was surprised that these two foreigners were going with the Czech tradition rather than off the regular menu. For a starter we ordered the Bramboračka, or potato soup with mushrooms and other vegetables. The soup was served inside a freshly baked Czech brown bread, and it was one of the best Bramboračka I’ve ever had!
Next up was the carp. As I watched the waiter come towards us with two plates of fried fish my excitement grew. First impression was that the plate looked delicious.
My husband said here we go and took the first bite. His reaction was great, “Hmm…not bad…mmm…actually this is quite good…one more bite…I quite like this…come on try yours.” Hubby was the one not looking forward to the carp and he really liked it. I took my first bite and said, “Oh yeah this is really good…mmm…I really like it.” The breading was amazing, the carp cooked to a perfect texture, the taste was really good. We were both surprised at how good it really was. Christmas carp is served with potato salad. Sounds strange but honestly it just worked well. We also liked the potato salad but the carp took center stage.
As we sat there really enjoying our Christmas carp we discussed about the unfair reputation carp has. My husband said that carp was just as good as other fishes he’s eaten. He also said that it is a matter of getting over the cultural biased of eating carp. I wondered how many people have just been put off by things others have told them about carp. For a long time I didn’t even want to consider eating carp because of all the awful things people told me about them. How sad I shouldn’t have listed to them and should have tried carp sooner.
The good thing about now discovering a liking for carp is that it is sold year round. I for one will definitely be eating carp again. While it might not replace other menu favorites, like salmon and trout, it will definitely be one on the consideration list. The next step will be to actually prepare carp myself. Will keep you posted.
How about you, have you eaten carp? What was your opinion? Share in the comments below.
P.S. Please excuse the horrible photos. My little point and shoot camera is on it’s last breath :(