Herald Ledger Staff
“If you can fillet a catfish,” said celebrity chef Philippe Parola, “you can fillet one of these.”
Slicing and dicing a 20-plus-pound Asian carp that Parola labels a silverfin, it was apparent that while the comparison might be true, one would need a bigger knife.
Near the close of “Carp Madness,” a fishing tournament, sponsored bythe Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake on March 12 and 13 Parola demonstrated his expertise for the public and a television host. Kentucky Educational Television’s Tim Farmer of “Kentucky Afield” was on hand filming the demonstration.
With a $10,000 prize at stake, 15 teams of fishermen took to local waters for two days. Barry Mann of Gilbertsville caught the most fish with more than 28,000 pounds and took home the first prize. Heath Frailey finished second with more than 22,000 pounds and earned $4,000 for his haul.
While Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Jenny Henning was on duty at the weigh-in site and standing by to assist in various fishing areas, if necessary, the day was very calm, and she spent time tending the fire, slicing and dicing the silverfin (also known as Asian carp) and offering tempting samples to fishermen, visitors, and dubious members of the media.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen of Harbor Lights Dining Room at the park, Chef Philippe was explaining how the pesky and dangerous Asian carp could be considered a healthy food source, to be used locally and also exported.
“After almost three years of research and development focused on the Asian carp invasion solution,” the chef said, “we have identified and engineered the necessary food technology to process Asian carp into high quality, healthy, and delicious precooked boneless food items. These items include a variety of flavored fish cakes and croquettes. Our first accomplishment was a successful name change from Asian carp to silverfin. This was done to improve the public consciousness to facilitate our marketing efforts.
“As the economy will drive this process, it’s easy enough to make that point with the knowledge that many Americans do not realize, and that is that 85 percent of the fish now being consumed in the United States is imported. Tilapia, for instance, is very popular, but it is $8 a pound, and we import it from China. We really have no idea what happens in those cargo ships when they are not in our harbors, and we are at the mercy of whatever they want to charge.
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