Even though the calendar said January 9th, the holidays would not be officially over for me until I had fed my favorite Norwegians their Christmas Lutefisk Dinner. I not only love cooking, I love entertaining – especially theme dinners. A Norwegian theme would not only be fun, it would be a challenge. So, I ordered my cute little Norwegian flag from Amazon.com and got out my best Nordic-looking plates and tablecloths. The table would look great and despite the lutefisk, I was determined that the meal would also be tasty.
I’m not a huge fan of salty, lye-cured cod myself, but I will serve it to those who praise my cooking (Take a look at this comment my Norwegian buddy left on Mommysavers the day before the big feast. This HUNGRY MAN knows what he’s doing by buttering up the chef!). For those who aren’t familiar with it, this is how Wikipedia describes lutefisk:
Lutefisk is made from dried whitefish (normally cod in Norway, but ling is also used) prepared with lye in a sequence of particular treatments. The watering steps of these treatments differ slightly for salted/dried whitefish because of its high salt content.
The first treatment is to soak the stockfish in cold water for five to six days (with the water changed daily). The saturated stockfish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. The fish swells during this soaking, and its protein content decreases by more than 50 percent producing a jelly-like consistency. When this treatment is finished, the fish (saturated with lye) is caustic, with a pH value of 11–12. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Eventually, the lutefisk is ready to be cooked.
We’ve made lutefisk before, and it’s not really as bad as it sounds (or smells). You know you’re dealing with some pungent stuff when Wikipedia describes how to “make the fish edible.” I think the key is rinsing it enough so that it doesn’t taste so much like fish-flavored Jell-o.
On the Menu
- Deviled Eggs
- Hot Crab Dip
- Pickled Herring
Slightly Americanized, our Norwegian Feast also included Jiffy Corn Casserole and Rice Krispy Scotcheroo Bars (if the picture below is any indication, apparently the young ‘uns think the middle ones are the best). There was also an absence of anything green or very healthy on the table, but since I was cooking for men and kids I didn’t get any complaints.
It was a fun night. The food was good, and the company even better. The best part? The Norwegian “Miss Kim” apron they gave me. It’s very special for many reasons, and I hope I do it justice by wearing it to cook up some authentic Norwegian dishes. We wrapped up the night with an intense game of sock basketball in the living room. That’s just the way we roll. And now the holiday decorations can come down until next Christmas.