Best Local Food Product

Critics' Picks

Asian carp

Last February I wrote about the attempts of various Chicago chefs to use the impossibly bony, leaping Asian carp that have infiltrated waterways in the state. Only one of them really ran with the idea. Since then Phillip Foss of Lockwood has made broiled Asian carp with Provençal-style beans and crab, hearts of fennel, grilled radicchio, and aioli; crisp paupiette of Asian carp in Barolo sauce; ceviche of “Shanghai Bass” with fiddlehead ferns, pickled purple artichokes, sea beans, green almonds, shaved carrots, and stinging nettle pistou; “carp-accio” with watermelon, cucumber, grilled ramps, black garlic, and sesame oil; and a simple carp sandwich.

Though he’s more than demonstrated that its flesh is perfectly tasty, Foss is under no illusions that fine-dining restaurants will solve the Asian carp problem. But the national attention he’s received for his experiments (Today, the Wall Street Jounal) continues to snowball, and if enough people could be persuaded to begin processing and marketing the stuff to schools, institutions, and fast-food corporations, its population might be controlled. If it’s good enough for gefilte fish, why not a fish taco at Taco Bell?

Inspired to procure some Asian carp for yourself? Check the markets in Chinatown and Little Saigon or Dirk’s Fish (2070 N. Clybourn, 773-404-3475, dirksfish.com), which was stocking it at press time. Foss has a handy chronicle of his experiments and the recipe for “carp-accio” at thepickledtongue.com/?tag=asian-carp.