Huffpost Chicago

Asian Carp On Taste Of Chicago Menu? State Officials Will Offer Free Samples Of Invasive Fish

Posted: Updated:
Chef Philippe Parola tastes fried Asian carp at a dinner event at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory High School on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Chicago. launch of a campaign by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to try and change the fish's image and teach people how to cook the ultra-bony meat. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Chef Philippe Parola tastes fried Asian carp at a dinner event at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory High School on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Chicago. launch of a campaign by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to try and change the fish's image and teach people how to cook the ultra-bony meat. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Would controlling the growing Asian carp population be easier if they were tasty?

That's part of the logic behind an initiative organized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, which involves passing out free sliders made with the high-protein fish during this year's Taste of Chicago, the Associated Press reports.

The invasive species that devours plankton, throwing ecosystems off kilter, first appeared on Chicago's shores in 2010. Efforts to control the population have included promotions highlighting the carp's nutritional value in the past, but many diners are put off by the bony fish and its bad reputation.

Starting at noon on Wednesday, organizers will hand out 750 mini-burgers with "Mediterranean-style" patties of Illinois River-caught carp prepared by chefs from Dirk's Fish and Gourmet Seafood, topped with a tomato-jalapeno chutney, the Chicago Tribune reports. The free snacks will be available for as long as supplies last at the fest, and more are available for sale and sampling at Dirk's Lincoln Park store, located at 2070 N. Clybourn Ave.

Spokesman Chris McCloud told CBS Chicago that he's not sure the overabundant fish will take off as a food staple in the area, but at a time when environmental groups are overextended trying to combat the growing Asian carp population, any change in perception can be helpful:

"We are not looking to create a long-term sustainable market for Asian Carp, but right now there are so many of them, that any help in getting them out of our rivers, lakes, and streams is going to be a benefit,” McCloud told the station.

While the free burgers will likely be a welcome snack amid the many food offerings that range in price at the Taste, they're likely to be little consolation for returning fest-goers who showed up hankering for turkey legs.

Not in the mood for carp burgers? Check out some of the other fare available at this year's Taste of Chicago :

Pop-Ups At Taste 2012
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Around the Web

Asian carp to be served free at Taste of Chicago - chicagotribune.com

Taste Of Chicago To Serve Up Free Asian Carp Sliders On ...

Get Your Free Samples Of Asian Carp At Taste Of Chicago: Chicagoist

Would you eat Asian carp? - redeyechicago.com

The Taste of Asian Carp - Gapers Block Chicago

Free Asian carp at Taste Of Chicago

Taste of Chicago preview

One Bite: Asian carp hot pot at Ma Gong La Po