It's been a good year, mostly, for the Asian flying carp, but, then again, most years are kind to a fish that seemingly cannot be defeated. Imported long ago from Asia (thus the name) for silly reasons, it has no natural enemies here save rednecks who for years descended on Bath to net thousands upon thousands of the heartland's favorite-and-only flying fish during the annual Redneck Fishing Tournament, which was canceled this year for fear that coronavirus might kill more rednecks than rednecks could slay carp. Still, there is a market for airborne carp that stretches beyond fertilizer, if the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is to be believed, and Springfield is front and center in the state's campaign to convert carp into gold by promoting the pest as a tasty alternative to other food. Carter's Fish Market on South Grand Avenue, where Asian carp are called silverfin, last week hosted a tasting event, promoted by the state, with carp hush puppies spritzed with a Cajun remoulade sauce – mmm, mmm, good – served up to either the curious or hungry. Not to be outdone, The Barn on Wabash Avenue has started serving Asian carp tacos, done street style. They are, we're told, finger-licking good. Kevin Sullivan, Barn owner, describes a traditional recipe that includes cabbage but has one gripe about a fish that, if it was a song, would be called "Boney Maroney." "I wish it was filets," Sullivan says. "It would go better for me."

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