Adding salt to cod is a method that can be traced all the way back to the 15th Century. It's a technique that was developed to preserve fish ahead of long journeys, ensuring that sailors had the nutrition they needed for months at sea. Salt has antibacterial properties, so it gives fish a longer shelf life and makes it suitable for storing at warmer temperatures – hence this method of preserving fish became popular in hotter countries, such as Spain and Portugal.
Norwegian saltfish has a distinctive pale yellow colour and a delicate texture. Its flavour is exquisite – mature and delicious. It’s these qualities that have made our particular variety of saltfish so popular.
Transforming cod into saltfish is a simple process, but one that has been refined over thousands of years. To this day, the only ingredients we add are salt and time, which enable the high quality raw product to mature.
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.
Step two: Maturation
The cod is then layered and left to mature over a period of 3-4 weeks. The fish can stay in its container for longer, as it will reach a point where no more salt can be absorbed. The maturing process gives the salted cod its distinct and desired flavour – as it does for high quality cheese or wine.
Step three: Sorting
The water is removed from the containers and the saltfish is sorted according to quality and size. There are three quality standards – superior, universal and mixed – and a range of sizes from ‘kid’ to ‘jumbo’.
Hung FaiSpanish chef
the catch is key
Creating delicious saltfish requires the very best in raw materials. Luckily, Norway has some of the largest cod stocks in the world. Between February and April, shoals of millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds on Norway’s northern coast. The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, swiftly taking their nets to the seas.
In order to make quality saltfish, it’s essential that the fishermen cut the throat of the fish immediately and let it bleed out in flowing seawater. This ensures that most of the blood is removed before salting. Saltfish can also be made from cod that has been frozen, so we are able to produce it year-round.
Millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds on Norway’s northern coast.
Saltfish can also be made from cod that has been frozen, so we are able to produce it year-round.
Norwegian saltfish is exported all over the world. It represents us and so we are passionate about its quality. Throughout the season there is a strict managing and monitoring process in place to ensure quality at every stage.
Throughout the season there is a strict managing and monitoring process in place to ensure quality at every stage.
The quality of the salt directly impacts the quality of the saltfish, so we only use fresh, clean salt throughout the process. In fact, it is illegal to reuse salt once it has been used to make saltfish.
Enjoyed around the world
Spain is one of the most important markets for Norwegian saltfish. The varieties are vast, and they represent different regions food traditions.
On the menu
The main consumption of saltfish is in the Mediterranean area, where it is deeply rooted in the gastronomy of Italy, Spain and Greece. Salted fish is highly valued by chefs because of its versatility, wonderful texture and distinct taste.
On the menu
Saltfish is enjoyed in a variety of delicious recipes all around the world. It can be added to stews, served as a canapé, grilled on the BBQ, pan fried or even eaten raw. Below are just a few examples of how different countries enjoy saltfish from Norway.
In Spain, saltfish is often served as an starter or snack. You might see fried cod fish balls, or salted cod served with roasted peppers.
Thanks to its ability to survive warm temperatures, saltfish is popular on tropical islands such as Jamaica, where you’ll find it served ‘run-down’ in curry with rice.
Bacalao al pil pil
This dish is also popular in Spain. The salted cod is paired with three simple ingredients: red chillies, lots of garlic and olive oil.
Saltfish has a very high salt content and must be soaked before eating. Follow these simple instructions to enjoy delicious saltfish every time.
Step one: Soak
Rinse the saltfish 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.
Step two: Change the water
Pour fresh water over the saltfish every 8 hours.
Step three: Ready to cook
The saltfish will be ready to cook after 48 hours.
Step four: Portions
In order to make the most of your saltfish, we recommend the following cuts.
When saltfish is made it contains roughly 20 % salt, 55 % water and 25 % protein. Some of this salt is removed through the soaking process.
nutritious and delicious
One of the main benefits of preserving cod is locking in all of the natural nutrition for a later date. Saltfish is tasty and easily digested; it also contains many of the nutritional properties of fresh cod. It is rich in protein and vitamin D, so your customers can enjoy a delicious meal with all of the added health benefits.
Saltfish is rich in protein and vitamin D, so your customers can enjoy a delicious meal with all of the added health benefits.