Polish Christmas Carp

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging fish

2 cups Fish Stock, recipe follows

1 cup red wine

1/4 cup sliced almonds

4 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon ground ginger 

Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for garnish

One 3 to 4-pound common carp, gutted and scaled, head and tail removed and reserved for stock 

One 3 to 4-pound common carp, gutted and scaled, head and tail removed and reserved for stock

3 tablespoons canola oil

Sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Fish Stock:

Carp head and tail

5 to 6 allspice berries

5 to 6 dried bay leaves

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped


  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to incorporate and cook until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the Fish Stock and red wine until incorporated, and then stir in the almonds, raisins and honey. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have married, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the ginger and lemon juice. Keep warm. 
  2. Meanwhile, slice the carp into steaks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge in flour to coat. Heat the oil in a nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Cook the steaks until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the steak). Flip the fish and continue to cook until the opposite side is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to plates and spoon a little of the sauce over the top. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.

Fish Stock:

  1. Place the head and tail of the carp into a large stock pot, followed by the allspice, bay leaves, celery, carrots and onions. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the stock to a simmer and cook, skimming scum off the top occasionally, 1 hour. Strain the stock and discard the solids.