Norwegian: Klippfisk

Norway is a nation built on the sea and our methods have been passed down through generations. Clipfish – cod that has been both salted and dried – is an example of this heritage. The tradition of drying fish to preserve it dates all the way back to Viking times, but the process of salting fish began in the 15th century, when the Iberian fishermen were sailing to and from Newfoundland. Cod that had been preserved in salt would last the length of the journey.

Clipfish is also popular in Catholic countries, thanks to a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. The Pope ordered Catholics to eat fish instead of meat during Lent, so Norwegians have exported clipfish to Catholics around the world for many years. This blessing is just one of the reasons why Norway has become the largest supplier of salted and dried cod in the world.

Salted and dried

As with most ancient methods of curing, creating clipfish is a simple process. ‘Klippfisk’ literally means ‘rockfish’, a name derived from the traditional process of leaving the cod to dry out on flat rocks by the seaside. Today it is mainly dried indoors using modern techniques. Clipfish is appreciated by chefs the world over because of its versatility, wonderful texture and distinctive taste.

Clipfish

Step one: Salting

There are a few different ways that fish can be salted – dry salting, brining or pickling. Here in Norway, we tend to pickle our fish so that the water doesn’t run out of the container, but is instead used to cover the fish.

Depending on the preference of the market, clipfish is usually salted and matured for 10-20 days to create its unique flavour. Norwegians typically use 0.5-1 kilos of salt per kilo of fish and prefer to use sea salt in their recipes.

Step two: Drying

Once the fish has been salted, it is put onto pallets and left to dry indoors. In Norway we use specially designed drying tunnels in which temperatures are between 20-25°C.

The length of time it takes for the fish to dry depends on its size and how it was salted, so it can be anywhere between 2-7 days. The producer must keep a watchful eye on the fish to make sure that it doesn’t dry out too much, or too quickly.

Two men preparing clipfish for drying
Four pieces of clipfish

Step three: Sorting

The fish is ready when it has a water content of around 40-50% (depending on the market). It is then stored at a low temperature, between 0-5°C

The clipfish is then sorted by quality – the highest of which is “Superior/Primeira”. Sizes vary from the smallest 31/40 (31-40 fish per 50kg carton), to the largest 8/10 (8-10 fish per 50kg carton).

In Brazil, Norwegian clipfish is considered to be a delicacy. Here it is more expensive than fillet mignon.

The catch is key

While clipfish can be made with saithe, ling and tusk, the most authentic recipe uses cod. Luckily, Norway has some of the largest cod stocks in the world. More than 90% of Norway’s cod comes from the Northeastern Arctic Cod stock, which is the largest fish in the cod family. When salted, and dried this cod has a lovely pale flesh and uniform colour.

Clipfish can also be made from cod that has been frozen, so we are able to produce it year-round.

Infographic showing a fish

MORE THAN 90%

of Norway’s cod comes from the Northeastern Arctic Cod stock.

Infographic showing fish on a plate

CLIPFISH

When salted and dried, this cod has a lovely pale flesh and uniform colour.

Clipfish is highly appreciated by chefs all over the world because of its versatility, wonderful texture and distinct taste.

Madeline Pelaez
My experience with bacalao is unforgettable. Since I was a little girl, Friday was always “bacalao day” in my family. We would wait all week for this day. Norwegian clipfish has deep roots in Dominican gastronomy. This product allows us to innovate and is perfect for both the home cook and professional chefs. I love using Norwegian clipfish because of its delicate taste and firm texture. It is also endlessly versatile. In addition, dried and salted fish from Norway is perfect in a tropical climate because of its long shelf life.

Madeline Pelaez

Dominican Chef

soaking clipfish

Clipfish is a dried and salted cod product and so must be soaked before eating. Soaking clipfish properly really does make all the difference, increasing the size of the product by up to 30%. Here are our top tips for delicious clipfish every time.

Infographic showing a fish in a bowl of water

Step one: Soak

Rinse the clipfish in clean, cold water to remove the excess salt, and then place the fish into a bowl to soak. There should be at least 3X as much water as fish and the water should be between 6-8°C.

Infographic showing water dripping on a fish

Step two: Change the water

Pour fresh water over the clipfish every 8 hours.

Infographic showing a pot with the number 48hrs

Step three: Ready to cook

The clipfish will be ready to cook after 48 hours.

Infographic showing recommended cuts for bigger and smaller sizes clipfish

Step four: Portions

In order to make the most of your clipfish, we recommend the following cuts.

High in protein, low in fat

One of the main benefits of preserving cod is locking in all of the natural nutrients, such as Vitamin A, for a later date. Clipfish is also rich in protein and low in fat, which makes it an ideal choice for your health conscious customers.

Nutrition facts

Nutrition value per 100 g of boneless clipfish, salted and dried

Energy 315 kJ
75 kcal
Protein 17 g
Fat
of which
- Saturated fat 0.13 g
- Monounsaturated fat 0.08 g
- Polyunsaturated fat 0.28 g
of which
- Omega 3 (n-3) 0.24 g
- Omega 6 (n-6) 0.02 g
 
Cholesterol 50 mg
 
 
 
Carbohydrates 0 g
Vitamins
Thiamine 0.05 mg
C 2 mg
Ribloflavin 0.04 mg
Niacin 0.0046 g
B6 0.26 mg
Folate 12 μg
B12 0.8 μg
A
D 1 μg
E 1 mg
Minerals
Calcium 16 mg
Phosphorus 190 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Magnesium 28 mg
Potassium 355 mg
Zinc 0.4 mg
Selenium 27 μg

frequently asked questions

How do I know that clipfish from Norway is safe?

Norway's fish industry operates in accordance with EU food safety legislation. Our Food Safety Authority is responsible for checking food safety, recommending new measures and drawing up regulations. The Scientific Committee for Food Safety is responsible for conducting risk assessments. You can find out more about how we ensure the quality of our seafood here. 

Is it safe for pregnant women to eat fish and seafood?

Yes – in fact it’s encouraged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women eat more seafood while pregnant. 

What about raw clipfish?

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has concluded that it is safe to eat sushi while pregnant, so this extends to raw clipfish. If you are preparing raw fish, make sure that the cooling chain has not been broken during transportation. You must freeze the fish first to kill any parasites. 

Does clipfish contain any preservatives?

Only salt. Clipfish doesn't contain any phosphates. 

How do I store clipfish at home?

Keeping clipfish in the fridge will give it the longest shelf life. Clipfish can be stored for a maximum of 18 months.

Why is clipfish so popular?

Drying and preserving cod in salt makes it suitable for use in warmer countries where bacteria grows more easily. Clipfish is also a versatile product – once it has been rehydrated, it can be used in a wide variety of recipes.