Also known as pollan, lavaret, common, Baltic or European whitefish, powan (Coregonus lavaretus) is a species of whitefish belonging to the salmon family.
Because of the great diversity of whitefish, there is much confusion in the identification of some of its subspecies.
Powan has silvery sides, dark back, white stomach and dark grey fins. Its head is small with an upper jaw shorter than lower jaw.
Powan is mostly found in cold, oxygen-rich waters of the northern hemisphere. In Finland powan is found in the sea, lakes and rivers almost throughout the country.
Like salmon and trout, powan is nowadays also available farmed.
In picture above: hot-smoked powans.
The average size of powan varies between 25 and 50 centimetres (10 to 20 inches) and the weight between 0,2 and 2 kilograms (½ to 4½ pounds), but there are also smaller and larger species,
from the pygmy whitefish of the Lake Inari in the northern part of Finnish Lapland to large individuals reaching the weight of 10 to 12 kilograms (22 to 26 pounds).
Most of Finnish powan is caught from September through to October. Powan is an oily fish with pinkish-white, delicate and flavourful flesh. It can be eaten smoked, freshly salted, baked, fried, poached, grilled over charcoal or added to fish soups.
Its roe is almost as prized a delicacy as that of vendace.
See a recipe for freshly salted powan.