World famous celebrity chef Mark Best became a strong proponent of the ‘eat the problem’ concept to tackle invasive carp on a recent trip to the Murraylands, Mallee and Coorong.
Mark used his trip to come up with a solution to control invasive carp species in the Murray River,not only using the pest species, but serving them at major events and restaurants.
Carp are an introduced invasive species and have been the subject of many national control plans as large populations of invasive species wreak havoc in the Murray River.
The now Sydney-based top chef – who grew up in Pinnaroo – took to the waters with Coorong Wild Seafood’s Glen Hill who have been promoting the use of carp over the past decade and successfully incorporating it into the menu in various restaurants in Sydney.
Currently, for 1,000 kilos of carp, only 200 kg of products are used, due to the manual processing and filleting of the fish.
Coorong Wild Seafood believes that investing in a processing plant would increase the viability of carp by 50%, with less waste.
Mark said his experience with Coorong Wild Seafood in Meningie was special.
“Spending time with Glen (fisherman) and Duncan on the water just reiterated why it’s so incredibly important to us to have sustainable carp on more menus in Australia,” he said.
Proof of his point, Mark prepared 45 kilograms of Thai-inspired carp larb for 300 guests at his recent Tasting Australia event in Loxton.
Carp fishing would not only reduce numbers in the streams, but could eliminate the need to introduce a virus into the water.
Mark said that if treated well the carp did not develop a muddy flavor which is due to the release of a stress hormone – not muddy waters.
He used carp at the Sydney Seafood School – helping show other chefs how to use it.
Mark and fellow top chef Duncan Welgemoed with Glen Hill of Coorong Wild Seafood).
This of course comes on the heels of Chef Riverland’s tour and Tasting Australia event in Loxton on April 30. The Murraylands tour was organized by the RDAMR, as part of the Agri-Food Tourism Development Programme.
Preparation time:20 minutes
250 g (34 cups) sticky rice
50g thinly sliced galangal
2 kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
600g Coorong Wild Carp Mince
3 teaspoons ground small roasted red chili peppers, plus extra whole for serving
20g crushed palm sugar
180 ml (14 cups) lime juice, plus extra wedges, for serving
6 tablespoons finely minced red shallots
6 tablespoons sliced spring onions
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems, plus extra sprigs for serving
1 cup mint, plus extra for serving
1 cup chopped cilantro
Dry roast sticky rice in a skillet over low-medium heat, with galangal, lime leaves and chopped lemongrass, stirring or stirring, until evenly pale golden in color (15 minutes).
allow to cool then grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle, straight mixer or spice grinder (coffee)
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, sauté 1/2 cup water and boiling soybeansadd the mince carp then, using a large wooden spoon, work quickly to break it up and cook evenly
Transfer to a bowl and, while still hot, add 2-3 tablespoons of ground sticky rice, then the roasted chili.
Stir and stir to evenly distribute.
Add palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to taste
To finish, add the shallot, spring onion and all the sweet herbs and toss gently until evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasoning; it should have all the characteristics of a Thai salad: spicy, sour and salty with a rounded sweetness, which should not dominate. Garnish with additional chilies and serve with cabbage, beans, cucumber, additional herbs, lime wedges,