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Eat A Carp Burger, Save Lake Michigan!

By Staff in Food on Jul 9, 2014 6:00PM

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District and Dirk's give out free carp burgers at Taste of Chicago 2012 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District/Creative Commons)

Highly invasive Asian carp are advancing on the Great Lakes, so fire up your grill. Asian carp are eaten and appreciated globally, but the fish have never been popular in America because they’re bony and are thought to be bottom-feeders (actually, you can tell your pesca-prejudiced pals, Asian carp are plankton-feeders.) Nevertheless, Asian carp burgers at Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop have been well-received.

“90 percent of the people who try it like it,” Dirk Fucik says. At Taste of Chicago one year, Fucik gave out 800 carp burgers in two hours.

Fucik fillets the carp, then grinds the remaining fish. “Once you’ve done that, it’s like ground anything,” Fucik says. He’s used Asian carp in the meatballs in Italian wedding soup, and he’s received a lot of compliments for his Asian carp gefilte fish. Fucik recommends preparing his burgers with some cambozola cheese in the middle, or using Dirk’s Thai or “Terry-aki” marinades. The burgers cost $6 per pound, compared to $18 a pound for salmon burgers.

Fucik’s efforts recall recent attempts by Louisianans to popularize the consumption of nutria, giant swamp rats. Fortunately for us, Fucik’s crusade against Asian carp is way more appetizing.

Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop is located at 2070 N. Clybourn Ave.

By Lauren Larson