What's Lutefisk?


Above:  A holiday meal in Norway:  lutefisk (right) served with meatballs and, on the top, lefse (flatbread made from potatoes).  I'll take the meatballs and lefse; you can have the lutefisk.

Most Midwesterners know about lutefisk.  But many folks living elsewhere (lucky you) have never heard of it or tasted it.  Lutefisk is jellied codfish and is a delicacy in Scandinavia, served only at special occasions. 


Lutefisk is made by boiling codfish in lye (yes, I'm serious) until the entire codfish, bones and all, turns into a white, jellied mass.  It's then rinsed several times, hopefully and is served warm.  By the way, it's pronounced "loot-a-fisk" if you're Norwegian or just "loot-fisk" if you're Swedish.


I've eaten it (once) and a small plate was about all that I could handle.  Lutefisk doesn't have much flavor, to be honest, and the jelly-like texture takes a while to get used to.  However, many native Norwegians and Midwesterners of Norwegian stock are quite fond of it.  Let's just say that it's, um, an acquired taste.