In this classic recipe, carp is lightly covered with dough and fried until golden brown. It is topped with a large splash of lemon and served hot or cold. There is no Polish Christmas Eve without this dish.
If you think you don’t like carp, then someone didn’t do something right. Many people stop eating carp because of its muddy aftertaste. Luckily, there’s a trick to getting rid of it, and I’ll show you how.
For the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you go, there are important things you should know next.
The carp seems to suffer from a bad reputation. In some countries (especially in North America and Australia) it is even considered … a plague.
In Poland, carp rose to prominence under the communist regime. It was cheap and easy to grow, making it a perfect fish to fill gaps in the food supply. Today, carp is rarely consumed outside the festive period.
Not a fan of fried fish? There’s another popular Christmas dish called “Jewish-style carp”: a sweet stuffed fish, covered in firm aspic carp. We’ll cook it next time 🙂
Do you need any special ingredients to make this fried tent?
Most ingredients should be easy to get in any store, except the star of the show: a fresh common tent. It is sold whole or cut into fillets/fillets.
Ideally, fresh carp should be prepared on the day of purchase. The sooner it is cooked and eaten, the better.
🇵🇱 In Poland, you will find fresh carp in almost every fishmonger and in major supermarkets (especially in the time leading up to Christmas).
Look for the best: ‘Karp Zatorski’, ‘Karp Milicki’ and Opole Lubelskie tent.
🌍 Internationally, ask your local fishmongers first. If that fails, call a Polish deli. Alternatively, it is worth asking in Asian markets: in many Asian cultures, carp is considered a delicacy, so there is a chance that you will find it there. Asian carp is as tasty as European species.
What could you serve with fried tent?
In Poland, fried carp is traditionally served at Christmas Eve dinner; along with other meatless dishes.
Fried carp pairs beautifully with horseradish-based sauces. Classic tartar sauce also works well. It is worth serving the dish with a few slices of fresh lemon, so that your guests can increase the acidity if they wish.
As for drinks, a dry or semi-dry white wine is a good option.
Can you make this fried tent another way?
Yes, there are some things you could do differently.
Sometimes carp can have that specific, muddy smell and taste. To get rid of it, there are a few ways to marinate the fish, ideally the night before frying.
Some chefs recommend marinating carp in chopped onions; others prefer milk with chopped garlic. In this recipe, we are doing the former.
In terms of dough, you can exchange it for something else and cover the fish with ground nuts (especially almonds or walnuts) and other types of flour (for example, corn)
What diets is this carp dish suitable for
This fried carp is suitable for pescatarians. If you want to make this gluten-free dish as well, swap flour and breadcrumbs for a gluten-free alternative.
How long can you keep this fried tent in the fridge?
Carp tastes best in its freshest form. Once served, do not keep it on the table for more than 4 hours.
If you allow leftovers to cool, be sure to refrigerate in a container with a lid. You can store leftover fried tent in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you need more time to consume it, read more below.
Can I freeze this fried carp?
Fried carp can be frozen, but it is worth noting that after thawing it will not be so tasty.
Here is a much better idea to preserve this fish dish. Prepare a quick marinade consisting of hot water, vinegar, spices, sugar, and vegetables of your choice. If you need the exact proportions, use this pickled herring recipe. Place the carp pieces in a jar and pour over the hot marinade.
How to reheat this fried tent?
This fried tent can be served cold, but if you prefer it hot, here’s how.
From the cold: Preheat oven to 360°F (180°C). Place the pieces of fried fish on a baking sheet, the ovenproof dish also works. Cover it with aluminum foil, which will prevent the fish from drying out. Bake for 10-15 minutes until hot.
Avoid heating this dish in the microwave. The fish will become rubbery.
From frozen: Let the carp thaw in the fridge overnight. Then proceed to reheat it in the oven, according to the instructions above.
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