For so many of us who embrace our Scandinavian roots, the celebration foods of the holidays are the ones we associate with our heritage. I’ve written plenty here over the years about the lefse, waffles, krumkaker, and sandbakkels that I learned to make from my grandmother, for example. But the daily dinners, the weeknight feasts are just as important as the treats we serve on special occasions. And that’s where this Norwegian plukkfisk comes in.
Norwegian plukkfisk is basically pieces of cooked cod folded into a mount of creamy mashed potatoes and garnished with crispy bacon. You’ll often find leeks or spring onions in the mix, as well as some other vegetables.
Known particularly around the Bergen area, on the western coast of Norway, this is comfort food at its finest–flavors and textures that take many Norwegians back to their childhoods.
Recipes and variations are as numerous as the families who make it, I suppose. And in truth, it hardly requires a recipe at all. At its simplest, it’s cod pieces in mashed potatoes. Some people make it with a béchamel or white sauce. It’s sometimes served with the other ingredients mixed in, other times alongside or on top of it. While the vegetables are up to you, I’ve chosen peas to celebrate spring. I’ve kept my recipe simple–the sort of meal that comes together with ease on a weeknight, leaving plenty of time to linger around the table and savor the time with the loved ones I hope you’ll serve it for.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 stick butter, cubed
- 1.5 pounds fillets of cod or other white fish bones removed
- Olive oil
- Green peas defrosted, if frozen
- 4 thick slices bacon
- Scallions or green onions thinly sliced
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil and salt the fish and cook until opaque and cooked all the way through.
- While the potatoes and fish cook, heat the peas and cook the bacon.
- Drain the potatoes and keep in the pot, nestling in the cubes of butter so that they melt. Mash, adding a little milk, if desired, until it reaches the consistency you like. Taste, and season with more salt if necessary.
- Break the fish into pieces and fold into the potatoes.
- Serve iwth the potatoes and scallions either mixed in or with the potatoes, adding a slice of bacon to each serving.
Some of my other favorite Scandinavian or Nordic-inspired seafood-based meals:
- Fish Cakes with Remoulade
- Norwegian “Prince Fish” with Asparagus and White Sauce
- Simply Poached Prawns with My Son’s Herb Sauce
- Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Root Vegetables
- Bergen Fish Soup
- Norwegian Bacalao Stew with Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Onion
If you enjoy this recipe for Norwegian plukkfisk, you can find even more seafood recipes in my book The Pescatarian Cookbook for Beginners!
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