If you come to the coast, you have to eat fish. This is as certain as the amen of the church. If you are not yet a fish lover, you will become one on Rugen in any case. Fish is tasty, healthy and easy to digest. We show you Rugen’s fish specialties and how you can enjoy real Rugen fish to the fullest.
Native fish species around Rugen
In principle, there are always fish on an island, one would think. This does not mean, however, that all native species are always in demand. And since fish tastes best fresh, connoisseurs prefer to eat the varieties that go to the fishermen in the respective season in the net.
In spring, herring, salmon and hornfish pass by one after the other. Between the end of February and the end of May, these fish species usually migrate in large shoals to shallow coastal waters to spawn. The start of the annual herring season is reported in almost all local media, and Rugen restaurateurs pay their last respects to the "silver of the sea" with their own herring weeks.
Also to the horn fish, which at its arrival in May already has an approximate 1.The Hornfish Days are a culinary memorial to the salmon that has made the long journey of 000 kilometers.
And the salmon? It does not need a monument. It is in a class of its own. His favorite dish? Herring! It follows the salmon all the way to its spawning grounds, including the coastal waters around Rugen. Bad luck for the salmon. Happiness for fishermen, anglers and gourmets.
The herring comes to the Baltic Sea
From the end of February, the Baltic herring, which is also known as the Stromling, seeks out the shallow coastal waters of the inland sea in huge shoals in order to spawn. For the fishermen on the island of Rugen, this has always meant piecework – and often a last-minute rescue. Throughout history, there have been periods of food shortage, especially after severe winters. The shoals of herring came just in time: they not infrequently saved the population from famine, and in the Middle Ages they helped the Hanseatic League to an unprecedented rise as a trading power in the North Sea and Baltic region.
A noble fish with taste
Water reflect the sunlight. And so the herring may still call itself the "silver of the sea," because it has lost its other two "jobs" at least in part: It has served its time as the staple food of local fishermen, and countless other goods have long since overtaken it in international trade.
But the gray – or rather silver – eminence of the Baltic Sea is still more than holding its own.
After the Alaska pollock, it is the most frequently consumed fish in this country. And also as regional and seasonal speciality it is not to be excluded from Rugens menus.
No other sea inhabitant has produced as many different recipes as the herring!
A versatile health maker
The multitasker among the edible fish is fried, smoked, cured, pickled, made into salad or marinated. Herring owes its success not least to its characteristic taste and fine, firm flesh. Also its omega-3 fatty acids, which are typical for sea fish, the high protein content and the high content of several different vitamins make it attractive for fish lovers.
The Rugen fish(er) days at herring time
And because the people of Rugen revere this fish so much, the "Silver of the Baltic Sea" is traditionally celebrated every year during the herring season. Restaurants and fish smokehouses, as well as local fishermen, offer a variety of dishes and smoked fish to enjoy and tell of their hard work at sea and on land.
The Baltic salmon as a popular classic
Where the herring is, the salmon can’t be far away. Because the "silver of the sea" is right at the top of the menu of Salmo salar, as the Atlantic salmon is scientifically called. As Baltic salmon, which is biologically a subspecies of Salmo salar, it follows the herring on its spawning migration in the spring, even to the coasts of the island of Rugen. A circumstance that sports anglers in particular take advantage of: A salmon weighing 20 kilograms and 1.50 meters long simply makes more of a statement among fishermen than such a slender herring.
The predatory fish is not considered a distinctly regional specialty – which does not detract from its popularity. Like all marine fish, it is rich in vitamins and minerals. In processing and preparation the Baltic salmon is equal to the herring: it is boiled, fried, pickled, smoked, baked, poached or au gratin. Recipes for tasty salmon recipes come from all corners of the world.
However, the Baltic salmon has retained a regional peculiarity: Since it mainly preys on herring, sprats and other native fish, its meat is lighter than that of its relatives from other parts of the world.
From the sea to the grill
Since salmon is one of the most sought-after types of fish, salmon from other fishing grounds often end up in the pans and plates on Rugen – which of course does not detract from the taste.
However, if you want to enjoy a real local specimen, you should know: The probability of enjoying a freshly caught salmon from the waters around Rugen is greatest in spring, during the herring season.
The hornfish as a specialty
What has the hornfish not already had to endure everything: It was said that the good Lord drank one over the thirst, when he created him. That’s why he – the hornfish, mind you – has green bones. In GDR times, it was even defamed as "worker’s eel", because it had to serve as a cheap "substitute" for the coveted, but never sufficiently available real eel. Yet he is neither related nor related by marriage to the eels. Rather, the long, slender garfish, as they are also called, belong to the perch relatives.
Green bones characterize the horn fish
The hornfish actually has bluish-green bones. Only for a long time no one could explain this phenomenon, which is why over time the legend of its creator story was created. The scientific explanation sounds downright mundane and sobering: the color pigment biliverdin, a degradation product of the red blood pigment hemoglobin, accumulates in the periosteum of the hornfish and thus provides for the green bones. When eating the horn fish, the clearly visible contrast to the white meat is again very practical.
A delicacy in spring
Since the hornfish is actually only in May on Rugen, it belongs to the rare specialties. With its fine white meat, which contains little fat, a lot of protein and numerous B vitamins, it is not only delicious, but also healthy. Traditionally roasted it is usually served with mashed potatoes and rhubarb compote. But also smoked, baked and grilled dishes can be found on the menus of the island.
All culinary events can be found in our events calendar.