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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
bassen Lyr Req: At the Codfish Ball (25) RE: Lyr Req: At the Codfish Ball 11 Feb 09

Haven't been checking my thread tracer lately.

Stockfish, stokkfisk, stoccofisso, dried cod:

Hung to dry, gutted and head cut off, without salting. Tied together two and two and slung over poles ("stokk" in Norwegian) to dry. "Stokkfisk" is made from spawning cod, fished along the coast of Norway from January to April. Salt is not needed, nor was it available in any great quantity in subarctic Norway 1000 years ago...

Klippfisk, klippfish, morue, bacalao, baccala, bacalhau, salt cod (more correctly, salted dried cod):
Made from the same fish as stokkfisk but, in addition to cutting the head and gutting, the fish is laid open by slicing along the spine to the tail and chopping out about 2/s of the spine, making the fish lie in the characteristic butterfly form. This allows the salt to penetrate and preserve before fermentation/rot/nasty processes set in. The fish is then dried, traditionally by laying out on rocky drying grounds, taking anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks depending on wind and weather. The fish was gathered together and stacked every evening then spread out to dry the following day...lots of aching backs. Klippfisk must be desalinated before cooking (soak 24 hours per centimeter of thickness, changing water 2 - 3 times a day. Salty!)

A DISH made traditionally from stokkfish, made by soaking the fish in lye, then, after rinsing, steeping it in water or (more modern method) baking covered in foil in the oven. Lutefisk has become much more of a cult phenomenon in Scandinavian America then it is in Norway in modern times. Although there is a rash of fanatical lutefisk eating around Christmas time in restaurants here in Norway, there's none of the giggling, sophomoric stuff that occurs in Scandinavian America. In the regions where "klippfisk" is produced in Norway, they make lutefisk from both "klippfisk" and "stoffisk". Lutefisk is, in other words, not a method of preservation, but a way of softening the rock hard "stokkfisk" As there's no salt, you can eat stokkfisk as it is, softened by pounding with a mallet or hammer (true!), it's good but definitely an acquired taste...

By the way, salting AND drying cod was developed as a method of conservation by Basques and others in North America. Salt cod without drying is older, but requires a barrel to retain the pickle.


PS Don't trust everything Kurlansky says in his book "Cod", but do read it if you want to get an idea of how important the North Atlantic Cod fisheries were (and are).

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