Carp is the most common lake fish that you can find in the Podgorica fish markets or buy straight from fishers on the road passing the Skadar area. Carp is a large, fatty fish that is traditionally smoked to preserve it and safely store it. The fish is cleaned, gutted and left in coarse sea salt for 24 hours. Then, the excess salt is removed, and wild pomegranate and willow wood, which gives the fish a light red hue, is prepared for smoking. The process takes another 24 hours while the fish is triple smoked with the sun and wind. This Skadar lake product is also sold at the farmer’s markets; however, very few tourists know how it’s actually served in local households.
Smoked carp is considered a winter delicacy and mainly served for religious celebrations (such as Krsna Slava) in the time of fasting. The smoked fish is cleaned from fumes under water, cut into pieces and left to boil for half an hour with bay leaves until the fish meat turns white. Meanwhile, a traditional seasoning mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, chopped parsley, and garlic is made to pour over the warm fish pieces. The cooled seasoned carp is served as an appetizer or as a main dish garnished with potatoes, and you can try it at any of the lake restaurants.