|Choupique [source: Wikipedia]|
Other names for this fish include bowfin, grinnel, beaver fish, mudfish and dogfish.
Choupique can be found throughout the North American southern states in canals, sloughs, ponds, creeks, bayous, oxbow lakes and slow-moving backwaters. Like the garfish, it comes equipped with an inner air bladder and can stay alive, out of the water, longer than most other types of fish. Even in low-oxygen conditions the choupique fish will come up to the surface for air. Fossil remains of this ancient predator fish date back to 180 million years.
Unlike garfish, however, its eggs (roe) are not poisonous to humans and other mammals. In fact, choupique caviar retails for around $100, or more, per lb. It has a sweet and mild taste. Like shrimp, it will turn to a dark pink or red color when heated. The eggs are oblong shaped--not round like sturgeon or salmon roe.
Cajun Fried Choupique Cakes
- 2 - 3 lbs. choupique fillets
- 2 - 3 lbs. baked Russet potatoes, crumbled
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 cup of chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 lemons
- 2 measures of DIY Cajun Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun spice combo)
- Old Bay Original seasoning (for poaching)
- 2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
- water (for poaching)
- peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil)
- lightly sprinkle both sides of the fillets with Old Bay Original seasoning
- in a medium pan, add the seasoned fillets and enough water to barely cover the fish
- on medium heat, bring the water to a slow simmer, then lower the heat (do not boil)
- cover and poach the fillets until flaky, (about 10 minutes), then remove with a slotted spatula
- set the poached fillets aside a few minutes to drain and cool before breaking apart
- in a separate bowl wisp together the eggs, chopped green onions, parsley, onion powder and Cajun seasonings
- to this mixture add the crumbled baked potatoes and fish
- mix everything together thoroughly and form fish patties (about 4" in diameter)
- coat the patties with Italian bread crumbs
- add about 2 inches of peanut oil in a cast-iron skillet (or other heavy skillet)
- fry at 365 degrees F. for about 4 minutes on each side (until golden brown)
- cut lemons into several wedges to serve with the fish patties
Note: These fish cakes are wonderful when served with French fries, Peño Puppies and your favorite Cajun Tartar Sauce. Makes 8 - 12 servings.
More choupique recipes. Bon Appetit!