Czech Republic Comfort Food Recipe: Fried Carp With Potato Salad

by DerdriuMarriner

Fried Carp with Potato Salad is favored as a traditional Christmas Eve meal in the Czech Republic. But this tasty dish also may be enjoyed year-round.

Fried carp with potato salad (smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem) holds special status as a comfort food that is prized as a traditional Christmas Eve meal featured in households throughout the Czech Republic.

The tasty comfort food elegantly graces every table on which it appears. For those who so desire, it is a satisfying main dish at any time of the year.

This dish does not have to await Christmas Eve to be savored.

fried carp with potato salad (smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem): quintessential Czech comfort food as well as a Christmas Eve favorite

Tradiční české štědrovečerní jídlo. Smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem.
Tradiční české štědrovečerní jídlo. Smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem.


Fried carp with potato salad (smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem) enjoys dual status as a comfort food which also is prized as a traditional Christmas Eve meal. Each family individualizes this comfort meal. For example, homemade tartar sauce is a popular condiment for fried carp. Also, celery, boiled eggs, and parsley are frequent additions to potato salad. Some households boil carrots with potatoes whereas other families prefer the crunchiness of raw carrots in their potato salad.

Especially for the holidays, potato salad is prepared the day before Christmas Eve to allow the flavors to blend fully from a day's setting. Oftentimes potatoes are peeled, although serving unpeeled potatoes is acceptable. In my family, we tend to retain the skin, rather than peel it. When we do peel potatoes, we store the peelings in the freezer for incorporation into casseroles, purées and stews. Also my family prefers red onions for the extra color which they bring to the salad.


Fried Carp With Potato Salad (Smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem)

Recipe #1: Potato salad with vegetables (bramborový salát se zeleninou)

Prep time: 5 minutes -- Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients for 8 servings

Depending upon portion size, yields 6 to 8 servings.



2 pounds potatoes

2 large or 4 small/medium) carrots

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup peas

2 apples, diced

3 gherkins, chopped

1.5 cups mayonnaise


Optional:  2 teaspoons of brine from gherkins

  • Or: several dashes of vinegar




1. Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Optional:  Slices carrots in half and boil with potatoes.

2. Allow potatoes (and carrots, if boiling them) to cool for about 5 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, slice or cube potatoes. 

4. Add chopped or diced carrots, chopped onions, and peas. Mix lightly.

5. Add diced apples and chopped gherkins.

6. With a spatula or spoon, deposit dollops of mayonnaise on top of salad ingredients.

  • Optional:  For additional flavor in mayonnaise, fold 2 teaspoons of gherkin brine or several dashes of vinegar into mayonnaise before adding mayonnaise to other ingredients.

7. Gently fold mayonnaise throughout the salad.

8. Chill before serving.


Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe #2: Fried carp (Smažený kapr)


1 cup milk

1 cup flour

2 eggs

3 pounds carp fillets


1.5 sticks (3/4 cup) butter

lemon juice to taste




1. Gently add milk to flour and blend. Add eggs and mix well.

2. Melt butter in large skillet.

3. Dip carp fillets in batter and then sprinkle with salt, according to taste.

4. Place each fillet into skillet and fry until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes on each side.

5. Transfer to serving plate or individual plates and sprinkle with lemon juice, according to taste.


Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.


May be served with homemade tartar sauce.


Picking out a fresh carp is one of the fun activities associated with the Christmas season in the Czech Republic.

Christmas carps in public fountain in Uherský Brod, southeast Morava, eastern Czech Republic
Christmas carps in public fountain in Uherský Brod, southeast Morava, eastern Czech Republic



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet. 


Image Credits


Tradiční české štědrovečerní jídlo. Smažený kapr s bramborovým salátem.: Ludek, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @

Christmas carps in public fountain in Uherský Brod, southeast Morava, eastern Czech Republic: Ervinpospisil, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ánoční_kapři_v_kašně.jpg


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the end which is also the beginning

The Czechoslovak Cookbook by Joza Břízová

In Czechoslovakia, a country known for fine cooks, a copy of Varime Zdrave Chutne a Hospodarne graces nearly every kitchen. Now this best-selling Czechoslovak cookbook has been adapted for American use.
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Updated: 11/06/2023, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 11/03/2014

Mira, Olive oil-based homemade mayo offers a distinctive flavor which may require adjusting perceptions of how mayo should taste. I like its flavor, but I also do like sunflower oil-based mayo.
Drenching anything with mayo seems to reflect either a great love of mayo or an effort to cover what's beneath. :-)

Mira on 10/31/2014

I don't often use mayo, but it's necessary in our traditional beef salad, which is a kind of Russian salad with beef (but can be made with any kind of meat, including chicken wings, etc.). We make our beef salad often, because it's one of the staples at major holidays and also something we enjoy. Some people tend to use way too much mayo for my taste though, and they also make that mayo with lots of sunflower oil. I prefer the version I gave you.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/30/2014

I only include recipes which work for me. So yes, I like the salad. But the interaction between apples and gherkins sometimes can be an acquired, not a natural, preference.
Me too, I prefer olive oil raw and uncooked.
As with so many others and like homemade macaroni and cheese, potato salad is an ever-popular food item with me.
Is the mayo with milk, mustard, olive oil, and salt what you use atop vegetables?

DerdriuMarriner on 10/30/2014

FrankBeswick, Carp right out of the "pond" indeed can have an earthy smell and taste which can be off-putting.
The Czech Republic is strong on preserving rituals and traditions that work, and the freshwater rinse undoubtedly prompts the image which I've included above of children deciding which carp to select from those swimming in a fountain. Czech culinary culture today also permits a bathtub rinse for carp between being caught and processed for serving.
So yes, medieval wisdom squares very nicely with my experience and that which I know of others.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/30/2014

Always-Writing, Me too, I agree that what with the increased access to carp there needs to be more carp-inclusive recipes available. For some, carp-eating is an acquired taste. It most likely would encourage people to include carp in their diet by trying smoked servings, which -- I agree -- taste so great!

Mira on 10/30/2014

I love potato salad! And you can make the mayo with milk and olive oil (plus mustard and salt), which makes it easier on the digestive system (I love raw, uncooked olive oil). I'm not sure about apples and gherkins together in that salad though :). Have you tried it? If you have and it's good, I'll try it too :)

frankbeswick on 10/29/2014

Mediaeval carp keepers used to keep carp in a clear stewpond" for a week or so before catching and eating them. The reason for this is that carp can taste a bit "muddy" so for best results they were taken from their muddier water to the clear water, to improve the taste of their flesh. How does this practice square with your experience of eating carp?

Always-Writing on 10/29/2014

I happen to like carp, but do not know many people here in the US who agree with me. One of my favorite ways to eat it, is smoked. With all of the carp that have been multiplying here in the last few years, we need more carp recipes to be published online!

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