Free meals of Asian carp will be offered at nine locations across this state this Saturday, Oct. 17, including at Carter’s Fish Market, 1900 S. Grand Ave. East from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Owner Clint Carter will prepare and serve Louisiana-style Asian carp hush puppies drizzled with a Remoulade sauce. Beginning Oct. 21, The Barn, 1501 Wabash Ave., will offer a fish taco special.

With a mission to expand local food options and continue efforts to remove Asian carp from Illinois waterways, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), together with Sorce Freshwater Company and the Midwest Fish Co-op, and with continued support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, are organizing these events to showcase the versatility and nutritional benefits of Asian carp.

“Removing Asian carp from our waterways has long been one of our best and most well-known tactics when it comes to keeping these invasive fish from the Great Lakes,” said Colleen Callahan, director, IDNR. “But what is lesser known when it comes to Asian carp is the overwhelming benefit as both a food source and potential menu item for restaurants. To showcase its nutritional benefits and adaptability as protein source, we’re partnering with businesses to provide free meals across the state.”

Representatives from IDNR and other local partners will be on hand to discuss the event and answer questions:

“You know that old expression, ‘Take lemons and make lemonade?’ Well, that’s what we’re doing here,” Callahan said. “We’re just taking fish and making fish tacos, and sliders, and a host of other food items Illinoisans love. It’s a win-win.”