SAM­PLING A SCAN­DI­NA­VIAN DEL­I­CACY ON A TRIP TO NOR­WAY

Evening Times - - SHOPPING TIMES -

socks that our hosts, the fish fac­tory’s own­ers - sis­ters Unni Lorentzen and Tor­b­j0rg Lindquist, and Unni’s hus­band, Trond Lorentzen – have warmed on the ra­di­a­tor for us, we set­tle down to a meal of skrei m0lje, a tra­di­tional Nor­we­gian dish that uses ev­ery avail­able morsel of the cod.

Served with am­ber glasses of aqua­vit, we start with cor­ru­gated curls of but­ter on brit­tle, nutty cracker­breads be­fore be­ing pre­sented with wedges of barely grainy, pale pink skrei roe. Roux ex­plains that “the pinker the roe, the more shrimp the cod must have eaten – just like flamingos”.

There’s also steamed, skin­less pota­toes and the cod flesh it­self, poached, lu­mi­nous white and flak­ing suc­cu­lently at the slight­est nudge of a fork – we lib­er­ally grind over fresh black pep­per and sprin­kle on finely chopped raw white onion.

A tray of stuffed cod stom­ach, gelati­nous with a slightly spongy crust with a rub­bery wob­ble to it, prompts Unni to ad­mit: “The flavour, if you have not tried be­fore, is...”, at which point her sis­ter fin­ishes with a laugh, “In­ter­est­ing!”

“Go on – be brave,” Roux says, pass­ing the plat­ter, and well, it’s not to­tally un­pleas­ant, although a lit­tle chewy.

A fra­grant bowl of skrei liver ap­pears, grey­ish blobs of it float­ing lightly in an oily liquor. I’m scep­ti­cal again, but peo­ple heave huge dol­lops of the stuff onto their plates. “The best way to eat it, if you’re ner­vous, is to squash a potato, add a bit of pep­per, and mix the liver in like but­ter – it melts,” Roux tells me – and he’s right, it dis­solves into a rich, umami dress­ing that’s not fishy at all.

“It’s so, so sim­ple, and the fish is so clean,” says Roux. “When it’s this fresh, noth­ing is so good.”

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