Festive carp

A heady combination of spices, herbs, beer and fruit transforms Valentine Warner's simple carp recipe into a fishy feast
By Valentine Warner
Festive carp
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 mirror carp, scaled, gutted and rinsed
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 cloves, lightly bruised
  • 8 allspice berries, lightly bruised
  • 8 juniper berries, lightly bruised
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls raisins
  • 2 tsp unsmoked paprika
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced, skin on, plus ½ orange, juice only
  • 1 green pepper, cut into rings
  • 4-5 thin slices lemons, skin on
  • about 100 ml Polish beer
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cubes butter

To serve

  • boiled, peeled potatoes
  • chopped fresh parsley, for sprinkling


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with a sheet of foil and top this with a sheet of baking parchment.

2. Sprinkle a good pinch of sea salt over the parchment and drizzle with olive oil. Add half of all the following ingredients: cloves, allspice, juniper and peppercorns. Add 2 of the bay leaves and half the garlic. Scatter over half each of the thyme, onion and raisins. Dust with half the paprika, and cover with half the slices of orange, green pepper and lemon.

3. Pour over the beer and orange juice. Sprinkle with the vinegar and place the carp on top of the lot. Use the remaining ingredients to repeat the bottom layer on top of the fish (no need for extra beer, orange juice or vinegar).

4. Place another sheet of parchment paper over a sheet of foil and lay parchment-side down over the baking tray to make a lid. Roll and crimp the edges of the foil and paper together to make a parcel but don't make it too tight ' you need to leave enough room for the steam to gather.

5. Place the fish parcel in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the onions and green pepper are tender.

6. Open up the parcel (taking care not to tear it in case you need to return it to the oven for further cooking). Remove the fish and place on a serving plate. Dress with the onions, orange, peppers and lemon.

7. Carefully pour the cooking liquor into a saucepan and place over a high heat. Simmer until it has reduced slightly. While still bubbling, lower the heat and whisk in the cubes of butter one by one until the sauce is nice and creamy.

8. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve with potatoes sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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