Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fera, Corégone, Lavaret or Palée - The Broad Whitefish on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated October 2017.
The broad whitefish.
Féra, Corégone, Lavaret, and Palée - The broad whitefish. One of the tastiest freshwater fish in France.    The broad whitefish has white, delicate and firm flesh. It will be prepared like other members of the salmon and trout family: grilled, fried, poached or smoked. Nearly all will have come from lakes and rivers though some are now coming from fish farms.

The broad whitefish on French menus:

Corégone aux Girolles et sa Grenobloise – The broad whitefish prepared with the wild chanterelle mushrooms and the Sauce Grenobloise. This is a clarified butter sauce made with lemon and capers and named after the city of Grenoble. Grenoble sits at the base of the Alps in the region of the Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes and the capital of the department of Isere.

Féra du Lac Léman Dorée au Beurre -  The broad whitefish from  Lake Leman; cooked until golden in butter.
Filet de Féra du Léman aux Morilles et ses Pâtes Fraîches –  A filet of the broad whitefish, from Lake Leman, prepared with morel mushrooms and fresh pasta. Lake Leman is considered to be the source of the very best of these fish.
Lavaret Mariné au Fruit de la Passion, Avocat, Rhubarbe – The broad whitefish marinated in passion fruit and served with avocado and rhubarb.

Lavaret with parsley and capers.
Along with slow roasted tomatoes with fennel seeds, chili, and wilted spinach.
Photograph courtesy of Blue Moon in Her Eyes.
Le Filet de Féra du Lac Léman en Coulibiac Revisité, Émulsion de Crustacés –  A filet of the broad whitefish from Lake Leman prepared with a  coulibiac recipe “revisited,” and served with a thick shellfish sauce.  Coulibiac is a traditional way to prepare salmon by layering it with spinach and rice. The use of the word revisited indicates the chef is paying his respects to the original recipe but that he or she will have made some changes. In this case, the chef is not using salmon, rather the broad whitefish.

C. Delagrave et Cie drawing,1868.
 In both France and Switzerland, the broad whitefish is especially valued when it comes from Lac Leman, also called Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva is the 2nd largest lake in Europe; it is 73 km long and 14 km wide.  The lake borders Switzerland and France.  France has 40% of the coastline and 40% of the fishing rights (Lake Balaton in Hungary is the largest lake in Europe).

The French government stocks the lakes and rivers with hatchlings. In this manner fishermen and women, professional, and amateur, along with the restaurants and their clientele have a plentiful supply. In the last ten years, this fish has also been released into many other lakes and rivers in Europe.

The broad whitefish you see and taste in France is very different to another family member of broad whitefish that is caught at sea and will be on the menu in Alaska. The saltwater members of the same family have different diets, and when cooked both have excellent, but, different tastes and textures.
A broad whitefish caught in the sea off Alaska.
Photograph courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The broad whitefish in the languages of France’s neighbors:
(Catalan -corègon), (Dutch - grote marene  ), (German - grosse märane), (Italian –coregone), (Spanish – lavareto), (Swiss-French - féra), (Swiss- German – grosse schwebrenke).

Connected Posts:

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
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  1. Fera - I never knew what it's English name was - is one of my favourite fresh water fish along with Perch both of which were caught fresh in Lake Geneva or Lac Leman.
    Now no longer as they have been fished to extinction! I remember 'friture de perche' deep fried whole perch being a delicacy but not legal to catch as they were immature fish.
    You will still see perch in all restaurants along the shore of Lake Geneva but it is imported from scandinavia.
    Fera is popular in France though it is Fera du Nil (from the Nile) and is becoming larger and larger. Just five years ago the Fera filets were the size of a large trout. Now they are more like salmon or larger

  2. Hi,
    The fera, as noted, is a salmon/trout family member.

    I really hope that your Fera du Nile is NOT nile Perch.
    Nile pearh, from watching National geographic movies will destroy every living fish whereven it is introduced. The nile perch can grown to 100 kilos plus and has destroyed the fisheries of Lake Victoria, Afriva.

    I really hope that no one is really as crazy to inroduce the Nile pearch into Lake Geneva. Stop them now,

    I have no blog on nile perch...maybe I shoud write one?