AIR DRIED COD STOCKFISH FOR LUTEFISK
Literally translated as "lyefish", lutefisk or lutefish — from the Norwegian lutefisk and the Swedish lutfisk — is an old traditional fish preparation and dish consumed in the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland (excluding Denmark and Iceland). In Finland lutefisk is called lipeäkala (= "lyefish"), and is also known by many dialectal names like livekala and likokala, among others!
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Lutefisk is dried whitefish (normally cod, but ling and burbot are also used) treated with lye. The first step is soaking 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 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.
After the preparation, the lutefisk is saturated with water and must therefore be cooked extremely carefully so that it does not fall to pieces.
The lutefisk can be boiled for about five minutes, until translucent, then promptly served. To create a firm consistency in lutefisk, it is common to spread a layer of salt over the fish about half an hour before it is cooked. This will "release" some of the water in the fish meat. The salt must be rinsed off carefully before cooking.
Lutefisk does not need additional water for the cooking; it is sufficient to place it in a pan, salt it, seal the lid tightly, and let it steam cook under a very low heat for 20–25 minutes. An alternative is to wrap in aluminium foil and bake at 225 °C (435 °F) for 40–50 minutes.
Another option is to parboil lutefisk; wrapped in cheesecloth and gently boiled until tender. Lutefisk can also be boiled directly in a pan of water.
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