Stockfish is a dried cod product that is source of great national pride in Norway. It has played an important role in our history for more than thousand years, providing our Viking ancestors with much needed sustenance during their epic voyages. Stockfish is mentioned in Egil’s Saga and even Leiv Eiriksson was said to have had supplies of the dried fish with him when he discovered America.
Stockfish is our longest sustained export commodity. To this day, we make it using the same methods and the same special ingredient – our nature.
Made by nature
Stockfish is a world class delicacy and an important part of Norway's cultural heritage. The climate in Northern Norway is perfect for creating stockfish - with temperatures of around 0°C and just the right balance of wind, sun and rain. A subtle change in weather conditions can affect the product, which is why only stockfish from Norway tastes like it should - mild and with a firm texture that holds even after soaking.
Step one: Preparing
The cod is dried on vast open-air timber racks, which we call "stocks" - hence the name "stockfish".
Step two: Fresh air
Stockfish from Norway is matured by nature itself. Between February and May, Northern Norway has the best climate in the world to dry fish.
Step three: Maturation
After around 3 months, we move the stockfish inside to mature. It’s left in this dry and airy environment for up to 12 months. Just as with wine, each year has its own unique taste and flavour.
Step four: Sorting
Sorting the fish might not seem like an important job, but it requires skills that are acquired over many years. The grading experts are able to quickly sort the stockfish according to size, quality, thickness and even aroma. In fact, there are more than 20 different classifications of stockfish.
No preservatives, just the power of nature.
The catch is key
Creating delicious stockfish requires the very best in raw materials. Luckily, Norway has some of the largest cod stocks in the world. Between February and April, the entire coastline comes alive. Shoals of millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds near Lofoten on the northern coast.
The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, swiftly taking their nets to the seas and drying as much of the ‘white gold’ as they can to preserve its delicious texture and flavour.
Millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds near Lofoten.
The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, drying a fair share.
Stockfish can also be produced from saithe (pollock), tusk and haddock.
Stockfish is one of our nation’s most famous dishes, and so we are passionate about its quality. Throughout the season there are a number of inspections at the drying racks to make sure that the stockfish is on track.
Stockfish from Lofoten has even been awarded Protected Geographical Classification in the EU, putting it in good company with other national delicacies, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Champagne.
Enjoyed around the world
Popular in Italy, Nigeria, USA, Croatia, UK, Sweden, Canada, and France.
On the menu
Stockfish is enjoyed in a variety of delicious recipes all around the world. It can be grilled or marinated, boiled up in soups, served as a starter or even used in desserts. Below are just a few examples of how different countries enjoy stockfish from Norway.
On the menu
This is a delicious Italian dish typically served before a main meal. The stockfish is made into a mousse-like texture and served on bread.
On the menu
In Nigeria, stockfish is known as okporoko. It is often served in a soup and is considered to be a staple food.
On the menu
In Norway, especially around Christmas, stockfish is also served as Lutefisk. The stockfish is soaked in a mixture of water and lye until it forms a jelly-like consistency. It is then fried (carefully!), steam cooked or boiled.
The story of Pietro Querini
Querini was the first Italian in history to visit Lofoten, the home of our precious stockfish – but he did not arrive in high spirits. The year was 1432, and Querini had spent 19 unforgiving days in a lifeboat after being shipwrecked west of Ireland. Our mountainous, waterside district offered a beacon of hope in the cold, and our people welcomed his crew in.
The story of Pietro Querini
The Italians must have enjoyed their stay, because they brought stories of our hospitality home with them – as well as tales about our seemingly endless supplies of dried fish! It was the beginning of a fruitful trading relationship that continues to this day.
The drying process removes much of the water content in the fish, so stockfish must be rehydrated before cooking. Follow these simple instructions for delicious stockfish every time.
Step one: Soak
Place the stockfish in clean, cold water (2-4°C). Change the water at least once a day.
Step two: Create portions
After soaking for 2-3 days you should be able to cut the fish into portions, although this will depend on the thickness and texture of the fish. The skin can also be removed during the soaking process.
Step three: Patience
If the stockfish has passed through rollers, soak for 2-4 days. Whole fish will need to be soaked for 7 days..
Step four: Ready to cook
Stockfish has a soft consistency when it is ready to cook. It will also be more than double its original weight!
In some markets it is possible to buy ready to use stockfish products, which have been pre-soaked and can be cooked with right away.
Packed with protein
Stockfish is a completely natural product. It's produced without any additives and is full of healthy nutrients. In fact, nutritionally speaking, one kilo of stockfish is as beneficial as 5 kilos of fresh fish.
Dried stockfish is one of the best sources of protein on the planet - in fact one kilo of stockfish has as much protein as 5 kilos of fresh cod.
The drying process removes the water content, but leaves all of the nutrients. So, in addition to lots of flavour, your customers can benefit from high levels of vitamins, iron and calcium.
Frequently asked questions
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.
Yes – in fact it’s encouraged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women eat more seafood while pregnant.
The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has concluded that it is safe to eat sushi while pregnant, so this extends to raw stockfish. 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.