View Full Version : Lutfisk

Gunnar Damström
16-01-14, 23:22
For many years I bought my frozen lutfisk in good time before Christmas. At the right time a thawed it, then placed it in an oven proof dish in the oven at 375 degrees F for ½ hour. After that I took it out and threw away the foul-smelling, gooey mess.

However, this year my wife and I visited IKEA in Seattle before Christmas and we had a gorgeous lutfisk lunch. I was fortunate to be able to corner the IKEA delicatessen manager demanding that he reveal his secret. “Steam it” was his laconic reply.

Here is what I did:

Buy a package of frozen lutfisk (about 4 Lbs.). The day before, take it out to thaw. Wrap it in cheesecloth. Place a porcelain plate upside down in your stock pot; fill water up to about ½ the height of the plate (3-4 cups). Place the lutfisk package on the plate. Heat up the stock pot to boiling and boil for 20-25 minutes, or until done. I used an outdoor gas cooker to avoid any foul smell escaping into the kitchen. Be sure to add more water as needed.

Serve immediately with drawn butter, white sauce, string beans or peas or boiled potatoes.

You could also use a fish poacher with a false suspended bottom to steam the lutfisk.

White sauce (sauce Béchamel):

Melt two Tbsp butter in a saucepan. Stir in two Tbsp general purpose flour or gluten-free flour without letting it take color. Stir in 1 ½ cups of hot milk. Let the sauce simmer 5-10 minutes. Season with ¼ tsp salt; freshly ground white pepper; and freshly grated nutmeg. Finally stir in ½ Tbsp butter after which the sauce should not be allowed to boil.

Gunnar Damström
17-01-14, 01:24
By the way. If somebody is afraid of lutfisk, one can follow this recipe exactly but substitute fresh true cod fillets for the lutfisk.

Ed Koski
06-02-14, 00:19
As a YOUNG Boy - I knew Canadian Swedes who served this dish .... but I understand they used LYE in the curing of the Fish Dish ??? ( 1948 ) for their Lutefisk.

I'm going on 75 - maybe I'm wrong ???
Comment ??


Gunnar Damström
06-02-14, 01:07
That's correct, Ed. In preparation for making lutfisk you go to the market and buy a couple of sun-dried Norvegian cod halves. Then you fire up your sauna with birchwood and carefully collect the ashes. From the paint store you buy some chrystalline soda. Then you build a trough, using hardwood, big enough to hold your cod halves. Then you mix the birch ash and soda with water and soak the cod halves for a couple of days. Then you discard the lye and start washing the cod. Every day for two weeks you discard the water and add fresh, cold water. I have never done this, I'd be very interested in hearing if somebody has. In days gone by the sun-dried cod halves must have been a common staple in many homes. The cod halves were non-perishable and a valuable sourse of nutrition during the winter months.

June Pelo
06-02-14, 02:22
My father used to cure the cod in wood ashes or something... I was young then, but do remember him soaking the big pieces of cod in water and changing the water every day. There was a Swedish fish market in town that sold all types of Scandinavian products, including cod, herring, etc. ... and limpa. How I loved that bread. We also made it at home. Somewhere I have our old recipe for it.

My father grew up in Finland and when the family came to the US, his mother continued cooking the "old country" way. My father learned how to make lutfisk, blood bread, pickled herring, etc. and we ate that when growing up.

June Pelo
06-02-14, 04:50
Recipe for Swedish Lutfisk (lut = lye; fisk = fish)

1 piece dried lutfisk, sawed into 6 inch lengths
2 tablespoons lye

Soak the fish in clear water for 3 days.
Add 2 tbsp lye into a gallon of water.
Soak for 3 days in this solution.
Then soak for 4 days in clear water, changing the water every day.

To cook the lutfisk--------.
Tie the fish loosely in a square of cheese cloth.
Drop in a large enamel pot of boiling water.
Cook 10 minutes or until well done.
Remove cheese cloth, put on a platter and debone.
Serve with a white sauce or a mustard sauce.

Swedish and Finnish people serve it with white sauce; Norwegians serve it with melted butter.

Ed Koski
07-02-14, 00:51
Thanks June:

This little Finnish Boy of 8 thought that this was what ???? - " I was doing, when asked to help out " on this Task... being on the Farm we used LYE to stop to De Horn Calves, but to me: to put this on FOOD was - to me "Wow": - you are Joking - right ? I ate it and am still alive but the Memory came back so fast on your Article ... you Crazy Swedes !!!!


Toronto, Canada

June Pelo
07-02-14, 01:28

I bet your ancestors in Finland ate the fish, too. It is eaten in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, and maybe elsewhere..... they each have their own recipes for preparation. The fish actually hasn't much of a taste, but it's the odor from cooking that turns people off. Here's some background about lutfisk: