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Norwegian Lutefisk

lutefisk-served

Lutefisk
People either love it or leave it.

This little story is to The Praise of the Norwegian fish people love to hate.

Growing up in Norway, I had no idea that anyone would find this traditional food repulsive, I thought of it as a delicacy and still do.

It is first dried - and then soaked in lye and you have the real thing.

What is lye anyway? Oh, it is a strong smelling solution made from birch ashes and water.

You might wonder, how can anyone eat fish that has been soaked in birch ashes? To us aficionados of this "stinky-fish-stuff" - it does not matter. We love it and when/if you can get used to the jelly-like texture, you'll love it too.

The food picture above shows this fish served with steamed potatoes,
Grønnerterstuing/Stewed Green Peas, and bacon.

Clarified butter can be used instead of bacon.

baking lutefisk
Baking our favorite fish in a very busy kitchen

My family bake it in the oven, some people wrap it in cheese cloth and poach it in a large pot of water.

fish-drying

Fish Drying (above)

You either love it or hate it -- there is no in-between. Me???
I already told you - I looooove it!

An old folk tale about the origin of this Norwegian delicacy, tells about when the Vikings were pillaging Ireland. St. Patrick sent men to pour lye on the stored dried fish on the Viking Long ships with the hope of poisoning the Vikings andthereby ridding Ireland of these feared Nordic intruders.

However, rather than dying of poisoning or starvation, the Vikings declared "this stuff" a delicacy and it has been a favored fare in Norway, ever since that day.

Some Scandinavian descendants claim their strength and longevity derived from eating lutefisk once a year.


Norwegian Recipes
Lefse made with potatoes.

Foods of Norway after reading about Lutefisk

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