Friday, April 29, 2011

A Christmas meal remembered

Winter view from Langøya island towards Hinnøya, Norway's largest island
Here is a daytime view during Northern Norway's eternal night. This is the period of year when the sun does not rise over the horizon, leaving a pale yellow light on the horizon to remember it by for up to three months. I am staying with my brother for Christmas every fourth year, latest in 2010. Then we enjoyed, or ate rather,  a meal of lutefisk, a weird Norwegian specialty.

Lutefisk is one of these dish you either hate or love passionately. I am trying to change my feelings towards passionately love, as many of those people I love have a great time during the festive season.
Lutefisk with mustard sauce, mushy peas and bacon
Lutefisk is made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish (klippfisk) and lye, and it is gelatinous in texture, and has an extremely strong, pungent odor. Its name literally means "lye fish."

The consistency may be one of those factors that put me off lutefisk. It may shiver as jelly, but may also be firm and flaky as fresh fish.

My brothers lutefisk was firm. He served it with every ingredient you could think of. Mustard sauce, bacon, mushy peas, potatoes, goat's cheese and good cold beer with as many shots of aquavit you needed in order to digest the stuff.

It was the second time I had lutefisk, and I have to admit that I liked the side dishes better than the fish. This and the revered Smalahoved are among the very few specialties I have tasted once or twice and decided that I do not like. They are however interesting culinary innovations from a time you needed to preserve food much longer and used every little part of the animal.    

No comments: