We reveal a secret that will protect you from the risk of counterfeiting a Danube herring.
What kind of fish?
Danube herring (Dunayka) can be distinguished from other varieties. Just look at the fish’s back. If it is darker than usual, it means Danube. The uniqueness of herring is that during spawning, it swims into the Danube channel in Vilkovo, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea. There they feed on algae, which change its taste.
The locals have known this for a long time. The fish is filled with iodine so much that it cannot be kept for a long time even when frozen.
The settlement of Vilkovo in the Odessa region, which stands at the mouth of the Danube, is famous for this herring recipe. Fishermen start fishing from May (and sometimes from the end of April). And tasty and nutritious fish can be caught only in the second half of the month.
A little earlier, starting from the end of April, the fish spawns up the river, for several weeks they take algae grown in those zones into their diet, and only then are they caught.
If you were allowed to try fish that was caught earlier or later than this time period, unfortunately, it will taste like regular herring.
What are the nutrients?
Fish contains a lot of iodine and minerals. This gives it a unique taste. Imagine that even in the freezer, a carcass can turn red. Accordingly, it is not worth storing such herring for a long time. Caught in May, the maximum time is to eat it before the New Year.
How to cook?
Everything is very simple: the herring is salted for 2-3 days, then soaked for 2 hours. And that’s it; it’s ready to use. At the same time, the fish is frozen for storage.
Dunayka is delicious when fresh, therefore tourists are advised to bring from Vilkovo up to 20 kg, no more.
In Vilkovo you can taste Dunayka according to the local recipe: fishermen boil it with whole potatoes, adding bay leaves, salt and pepper. This is fresh, unsalted herring. Dunayka is sold in the Capital Market of Kiev, in Odessa and Izmail, but it is not a fact that you will not be sold a standard herring. Remember the experience of fishermen who only go fishing in May.