The first time I stumbled over this fish I was pleased to have found another mainly freshwater fish of great taste, simple to cook, to serve, to digest....and on top of that a "friendly" fish (because of the lack of annoying little bones), with a great taste. I tasted it for the first time on what is called the "Genfer See" - in English "Lake Geneva" - on the French side to save money for the same thing on the Swiss side (that's even what the Swiss do)!
I was told they only exist there, but in fact that isn't true....they used to exist in almost all of the mountain seas and lakes of the Alpine region, known as "fera" - "felchen" - or simply in English as "whitefish".
That is to say, they USED to exist in all the lakes - according to Wikipedia, around 68 species are either extinct or in danger of disappearing. That doesn't stop the tourists and locals fishing them, and as usual "MAN" has stepped in and has produced "farms", rearing the small fish and setting them loose in the lakes and "Seen"...
As usual, the difference in taste is remarkable between the original article - and the "farmed" version. Really they have little in common or intensivity of taste - the one with the other.
It's another one of those examples - like Salmon, Trout and other "royal fish".
I'm thankful I tasted the real ones - whilst they were still available.
Strangely enough, the demise and "new" version of this fish is due to a "cleaner planet" policy over many years.
Mountain lake water needed to be cleaned.
It had too many agricultural products which drained off with the rainwater into the lakes, it nurtured the natural algae which these fish fed from, the algae couldn't develop and died, and some of the fish species with it.
Other people, notably the smallish group of professional fishermen who live from the catching and selling of the fish - both fresh and smoked, attempted - by breaking the laws - to put back these chemical products into the lakes, but to no avail, they would have required enormous amounts of the stuff to make any difference!
Some 68 genres of the species are known to be extinct, or in danger, and others are "protected" - most certainly not from the fishermen!
The "fera" or German "felchen" can be seen as a member of the "mountain trout" type of fish for cooking purposes.
The best way is to give you an idea is an extract from the "Gasthof Adler" in the town of Lindau, Germany, on the "Konstanzersee", or "Lake Constance" in English.
I personally lived close to this place, just higher in the mountains for many years - a region called the "Allgäu".....here is an extract from their menu, and a link to the whole menu.....(It's all in English):
Fish - Specialities
|Felchen fillet (a locally caught fish from lake Constance, similar in taste to trout) lightly coated in flour and fried - served with boiled potatoes and a green salad||13,90|
|The Lake Constance Fish platter|
Different kinds of filleted fish from Lake Constance, fried in butter and almonds on a bed of green salad - served with boiled potatoes
A whole felchen (a locally caught fish from Lake Constance, similar in taste to trout) either coated in flour and fried, or steeped in a hot marinade - served with boiled potatoes and a green salad 13.90of all kinds.
A typical Hotel/Restaurant of the area........with local specialities from fish, meat, vegetables, pasta dishes from the area and local wines.
NOT forgetting that other thing....German bier
So.....now you know all about it - and don't take too much time to try it - don't forget the smoked variety....just as with smoked trout, served cold, with a cold horseradish puree (watch out - it's peppery), and some of the local "halb-weisse" bread, it is possibly even finer than smoked trout, and much more agreeable than smoked salmon.
(iwmpop)mrlemarquis - Vauvert,France - Juin 2011