If your money runs out before your appetite at the Taste of Chicago on Wednesday, then you might be in luck -- if you like the taste of Asian carp, that is. Starting at noon on Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be serving up free samples of the invasive species to willing takers in order to help them learn about efforts to protect the Great Lakes.
"Guests will be able to sample this healthy, tasty fish free of charge near the Taste entrance at Congress Parkway," the department statement said. "The Shedd Aquarium and Army Corps of Engineers will also be there to show not only how good these can taste, but the important work that we are doing in terms of protecting the Great Lakes from these fish."
"The samples will be Asian carp sliders, like mini-burgers," said Chris McCloud of the IDNR adding that they will be serving about 750 burgers until supplies are gone.
The sliders will be made with Illinois River-caught carp by the cooks at Dirk's Fish & Gourmet Seafood (2070 N. Clybourn Ave.) who will top them with a tomato-jalapeno chutney.
"We start with a Mediterranean style patty," said Terry Fucik, Dirk's wife and recipe developer. "This is ground Asian carp mixed with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest."
Dirk's sells the uncooked Asian carp patties for $8 a pound at the Lincoln Park store where they've proven a hit with customers.
"We take out the grill from noon to 3 p.m. every Saturday and offer samples," Fucik says. "Everyone who tastes them loves them!"
Unlike muddy tasting regular carp who are bottom feeders, Asian carp are plankton or surface feeders, Dirk Fucik says. "This gives them the flavor of a whitefish or a tilapia but with a little richer fattier taste," he said.
Although his fish store focuses on selling seafood with sustainable populations, Dirk says, "this is one we are trying to make unsustainable."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times