November 02, 2004

Since it seems to be a holding-your-nose kinda day

What better subject than Lutefisk?

Now, even in America, frozen lutefisk is readily available at selected fish markets and at Scandinavian delicatessens.

Lutefisk (dried cod treated with lye) must surely be the strangest culinary effort credited to the Norwegians, but what a treat when prepared properly. Everyone of course is not a devotee of lutefisk, but those who are defend it vehemently. Others go to the opposite extreme and claim it's a national disgrace.
Lutefisk must be served hot on piping hot plates. Accompaniments vary from bacon or pork drippings, white sauce, mustard sauce, or melted butter which seems to remain a favorite. Boiled and steamed potatoes, stewed whole, dry green peas are a must as a vegetable accompaniment. The only other necessary additions are freshly ground pepper, lefse, or flatbread. In some parts of Northern Norway, lutefisk is served with melted goat cheese.
So there you have it. Take codfish, dry it with lye until it's shoeleather. Boil it for 10 minutes, then serve with boiled potatoes and bacon grease.

You can have mine. Better yet, I'll trade you straight up for your kimchee.

Ufda, I forgot the recipe!

feeds 10 people
time needed: about 2 weeks

1 kg dried fish
100 g caustic soda
30 liters of water

Saw the fish in suitably sized pieces or leave it whole. Put in water. Leave in water in a cool place for 5-6 days if cut in pieces, 8 days if the fish is whole. Change the water every day.

For the luting use a plastic or stainless steel or enamelled tub (the enamel must be unchipped). Wooden vessels, china or stoneware may also be used.

Place the fish in the tub with the skin side up. Dissolve caustic soda in the water, pour over the fish until covered complete by lut water. Leave the fish in a cold place for 3-4 days.

When the fish is completely luted, it will be well swollen and you should be able to put a finger through it. Rinse the fish and leave in cold water 4-6 days. Change water every day.

If the fish stays in water for too long after the luting, it may be soft and difficult to boil. Test boil a piece, if you are uncertain.

Do not make lutefisk in the warm season.

Posted by Ted at November 2, 2004 12:36 PM
Category: Recipes

When I moved out here to Minnesota, my drive through a small town was enlightening. The Legion Hall was having a Sunday Lutefisk buffet.

I did not stop.

I'd encountered Lutefisk before. (South Dakota has lots of Scandihoovians.) So it wasn't a complete novelty. I'd just never seen a Lutefisk buffet before.

Posted by: Keith at November 3, 2004 08:42 PM
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