Invasive Fish Becomes a Tasty Dish
The Asian Carp now has a new name.
On Wednesday, the Illinois DNR made the announcement with the help of Food Network's "Chopped" champion and chef at Chicago's Ina Mae, Brian Jupiter.
"After more than a year of research and preparation, and consideration of hundreds of names. Drum roll, please. *drum roll* The new name for Asian carp is *ta-da* Copi. That's c-o-p-i. It's short for copious, which is exactly what this fish is."
Copi is an invasive species and found in huge numbers in the Mississippi and other Midwestern rivers. And hasn't been marketable to consumers with its current name. The IDNR says that renaming foods isn't new, the beloved avocado on your toast was once known as the alligator pear, and orange roughie was once called slimehead.
Copi is wild caught, low in mercury, and high in omega-3s. Chefs like Brian Jupiter and Beverly Kim both praise the fish for its light flavor, texture and flakiness, and it takes well to seasoning.
Illinois DNR Assistant Fisheries Chief Kevin Irons says the former Asian Carp is not a bottom feeder, contrary to popular belief.
"Today's relaunch is needed to address the confusion between bottom-feeding common carp, and these top-feeding and vegetative feeding Bighead, Silver and Grass Carp. Asian Carp are the most cultured fish in the world for food, and benefit fish farming by reducing nuisance plankton, algae, plants and snails without chemicals; which is why they were first brought to the US."
Restaurants may soon have samples of the fish to try. The Copi Slider is already on the menu at Kelleher's Irish Pub and Eatery, in Peoria.
For more information about where to buy, eat, or find recipes visit choosecopi.com.