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Bacalao - Norwegian stockfish in an exotic way
Bacalao Kristiansund
Bacalao Traditional
Bacalao Lofoten
Bacalao Espanol
Clipfish Omelette
Bacalao Special
Bacalao a la Viscaina
Bacalao from Kristiansund
Bacalao Portugal
Sandefjord butter
Raw Potato Dumplings (ball)
Potato Dumplings with Bacon
Potato dumplings
'Blainna-baill'
Trondheim Soup
Lye Fish (Lutefisk)
Sour Cream Porridge (Rømmegrøt)
Microwave Rømmegrøt
Herring Soup/Porridge

The primordial Nordmore fish dish is 'baill' in a great number of varieties. Baill is the generic term for a whole batch of dishes. In the old days, baill used to be served at least once a week in most homes. Balls of all sorts are ultra-typical for Nordmore, but the district has another unique speciality: Bacalao, which came from Spain. Bacalao means, in fact, cod in Spanish. The best bacalao is made rom klippfisk, split, salted and dried cod.
Bacalao. First rate clipfish - salted and dried cod - should be white and fine, with meaty pieces that swell their size during soaking. Clipfish should be soaked for 12-24 hours before beeing prepared. Take the thinnest pieces out after about 12 hours and refrigerate them util the rest of the fish is sufficiently soaked. If the fish soaks too long it will lose its inimitable flavour.
Potato dumplings have many names: klubb, kumle or raspaball. Some use meat or salt pork in the dumplings, other serve the meat on the side.
'Blainna-baill' is mixed fishballs. Some serve the stock the fishballs are cooked in as soup for a first cource or as a side dish with 'blainna-baill'.

Southern temper and unusual combinations, together with exotic spices and other light dishes, makes the term "Bacalao" exciting and new to us Norwegians. The word Bacalao means cod in Spanish. In most Latin countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Brazil, the term Bacalao is used for stockfish or salted cod.
The Spanish salted and dried cod already in the 14th century, and the method had its origin in the Bay of Biscay and by the "Terra do bacalhau" (New Foundland). This processing came to Norway around 1640. Until modern times the salted fish was dried on slopes of naked rocks. Today they are using modern technology which gives a first-class product.
Bacalao as an ingredient has a strong position in the Latin countries. In Portugal the talk about fish, meat, birds and "bacalhau". Every Portuguese eats 10 kilos of stockfish per year! Stockfish is used in thousands of recipes and the preparing-methods vary from cooking, to frying, to baking etc.
In Norway Bacalao is connected with a special recipe, stockfish-pot that consists of stockfish, olives, tomatoes, onions and peppers (Bacalao a la Viscaina). This is a savoury and spicy dish, and represents one of many thousand ways to prepare stockfish and salted cod.

Bacalao Kristiansund (10 servings) Put the fish in water for 24 hours. Clean the fish for skin and bones, and cut into quite large pieces. Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces. NB! Rinse the potatoes until the water is clear. This is the secret with the short boiling-time, you avoid getting the potatoes mixed with the oil. Cut the onion into rings, crush the pepper, and cut the garlic into tiny pieces. Go on to burning of the oil, that would be heating up the oil until it steams. Stir the tomatopureè out in the water. Place fish, potatoes and onions layer by layer in cooled oil with added margarine, spices and garlic between the layers. Pour the tomatopureè , and let it boil on a not too hot plate for 25-30 minutes. Do NOT stir the dish while cooking, but shake the whole pot once and a while.

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Bacalao Traditional (6 servings) Place tomato, pepper, fish, potato and onion in alternating layers in the kettle. Top layer should always be potatoes. Pour in water. Simmer at low heat. Shake the kettle so the bacalao does not stick to the bottom. Done when the potatoes on the top are barely soft. Serve from the kettle with French bread.

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Bacalao Lofoten, 10 litres food (12-15 persons) 1. How to prepare the dish if you have stockfish:
Remove skin and bones by splitting the fish from head to tail. Chop of the fins and draw the skin off with a wire cutter. If you have problems removing the backbones, knock them out with a small axe. Then the stokfish has to water for 4 days. If you use round stockfish it takes 7-8 days. When the fish is watered you cut it into thumb thick pieces abeam the fish.

2. How to prepare the dish if you have clipfish:
Water it out for an hour. Then the skin will losen easier. Draw off the skin and cut the fish into suitable pieces. Than you water it out for another 8-10 hours. Then you put it in cold water and boil it. Use twice as much water as there is fish. Filter the stock , cool it and clean the fish free for bones. Cut the tomatoes in slices and the peppers in strips, and lay them in in lays together with the fish, potatoes and onions. Pour over the parboiled sauce, put on a cover and let the Lofoten Bacalao cook in the oven at 80°C until the potato slices are tender. Serve with fresh bread.

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Bacalao Espanol Soak codfish for 8 hours in enough cold water to cover it. Drain and shred the fish. Saute the onion in the oil until it is softened. Add codfish and saute a few more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer slowly until codfish is tender, about ½ hour or more.

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Clipfish Omelette (4 servings) Chop the clipfish and cut the potatoes in pieces. Melt the butter in a frying pan, and fry the fish on both sides, together with potatoes and paprika. Mix together eggs, cream, salt, pepper and parsley. Take the egg mixture and empty it over the fish. Let it stiffen on medium heat. Take the omelet over to a plate. This omelet may be eaten both warm and cold.

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Bacalao Special The fish must be placed in water for about 48 hours. Change the water a couple of times. Boil the fish and make it free for skin and bones. Cut it into disk-sized parts, not to small. Use a big pot with a thick bottom (about 10 litres). Cover the bottom with olive oil. Put in some of the onion, then the peppers, which should be sliced in big sticks. Place the potatoes, onions and fish in layers with chopped tomatoes in between. Do not have any water in the pot, because the tomatoes will give enough moisture. Do not stir, but shake the pot gently. The dish is ready when the potatoes are thoroughly cooked.

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Bacalao a la Viscaina Boil the sauce for 4-8 hours, let it simmer, and then add the fish. Served in a Spanish way with cheese, bread and wine.

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Bacalao from Kristiansund Cut fish into serving pieces. Thinly slice potatoes and onion. Pour a small amount of cooking oil into pot and make layers of onion, fish and potatoes (in that order). Mix water with remaining oil, liquid from tomatoes and pimientos and the crushed pepper. Mix well and our over fish. Cut tomatoes and pimientos into strips and arrange on top. Cook over low heat. Shake the pot now and then, so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Cook covered, about 1½ hours. Check potatoes - when they are done, the rest is done. Serve with flatbread or thin slices of white bread.

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Bacalao Portugal (4 people) Soak the dried cod in cold water for about 24 hours, or until completely moistened. Change the water several times; drain thoroughly. Preheat the oven at 175°C.
Put the cod into a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until fish is tender.
Drain, skin and bone the fish. Flake with a fork into large pieces.
Saute the onions in half the butter until they are tender and golden. Add the garlic. Boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water. Once tender, remove from the heat, refresh in running cold water; then remove skins. Drain and slice potatoes into pieces of about a centimeter.
Grease a 1½ quart (litres) casserole with the remaining butter. Arrange a layer of half the potatoes, half the cod, and half the onions. Sprinkle with a little pepper, and repeat layering. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top layer. Bake for 15 minutes, or until heated thoroughly and lightly browned. Before serving, garnish with olives and eggs, and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with wine vinegar and oil in cruets and pepper on the side.

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Sandefjord butter (4 servings) Boil the fish sauce (or wine/table cream) for 3-4 minutes, take the pan off the burner, and then beat in small dots of the butter. The sauce should be smooth and rich. Do not boil after the butter has been added, but keep it warm. Season with lemon juice and a litle salt if desired.

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Raw Potato Dumplings (ball)
This dish is well known all over Norway, and its names and recipes vary from district to district. The foundation of these dumplings is potatoes with variations achieved by adding different ingredients. In north-west Norway (Møre) they are known as ball. Ball is often served with fish. Generally this type of dumpling is large - about the size of a medium size apple. These old, traditional dumplings have numerous stalwart fans.

Potato Dumplings with Bacon
Grate potatoes and blend with barley flour until a proper consistency. Some ground, boiled potatoes and a little salt may be added. Form round or oblong dumplings with your hand. Bring salted water to a boil, add dumplings and simmer until done. Serve with boiled rutabagas and fried bacon. Some people enjoy these dumplings served with soup.

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Potato dumplings (4-6 servings) Soak the meat and salt pork overnight. Boil meat and salt pork in fresh water. Skim. Simmer for 1-2 hours. Grate raw potatoes. Add the boiled potatoes, salt and flour. Shape dumplings with a spoon dipped in warm stock and drop them in the simmering stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with boiled rutabaga, meat and salt pork.

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'Blainna-baill' (6-8 servings) Grind the fish, potatoes and onions in a meat grinder with a coarse blade. Beat salt and flour into the dough. Make balls with your hands. Insert small cubes of pork or suet in each ball. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes, boiled turnips and fried salt pork.

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Trondheim Soup (Serves 6)
1¼ litres (quarts) water
4 T (¼ cup) parboiled rice
¾ dl (1/3 cup) raisins
1 cinnamon stick
1 T flour
2½ dl (1 cup) whipping cream
4 T (¼ cup) sugar
salt
Combine water, rice, raisins, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Whisk the flour into the cream and add. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the sugar and a few grains salt.

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Lye Fish (Lutefisk) (Serves 4)
4 lbs (1800 g) lye fish
Dried cod treated with lye (lutefisk) must surely be the strangest culinary effort credited to the Norwegians, but what a treat when prepared properly. Everyone of course is not a devotee of lutefisk, but those who are defend it vehemently. Others go to the opposite extreme and claim it is a national disgrace. In years past, the homemaker had to go through the complicated task of treating the dry fish with lye, but now, frozen lutefisk is readily available at selected fish markets and at Scandinavian delicatessens.

Cooking lutefisk the old fashioned way: Do not cook in aluminum vessels as it will darken the kettle. Use three level tablespoons salt to each quart water. Bring water to boil, add salt and return to boil. Add fish which has been sliced into serving pieces and again return to boil, then remove from the heat. Skim, and let fish steep for 5-10 minutes depending on thickness. Serve at once.

Without adding water: Put the serving pieces of lutefisk in a kettle, season each pound (450 g) of fish with ½ tablespoon of salt and place over low heat. This allows the water to be "drawn" out. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let steep 5-10 minutes. Serve at once.

Baking in foil: Heat oven to 400°F (205°C). Skin side down, arrange lutefisk on a sheet of double aluminum foil and season with salt. Wrap foil tightly about fish and place on rack in a large pan and bake 20 minutes. Cut corner from foil and drain out excess water. Serve at once.
Lutefisk with a firm texture can be obtained by first sprinkling with coarse salt and allowing to stand several hours. Rinse well in cold running water, and soak in unsalted water. Then cook or bake as desired.

Lutefisk must be served hot on piping hot plates. Accompaniments vary from bacon or pork drippings, white sauce, mustard sauce, or melted butter which seems to remain a favorite. Boiled and steamed potatoes, stewed whole, dry green peas are a must as a vegetable accompaniment. The only other necessary additions are freshly ground pepper, lefse, or flatbread.

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Sour Cream Porridge (Rømmegrøt) (Serves 6)

Sour cream porridge with dried meats was festive food in the olden days and is still considered that today.
Sour cream porridge must be made from high fat (35%) natural sour cream, with no stabilizers or gelatin added. For the best results, use homemade sour cream. Heat 2½ dl (1 cup) whipping cream to 95°F (35°C), almost body temperature, then whisk in 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Let stand at room temperature at least 8 hours, until thickened.
4 dl (1 2/3 cups) 35% fat sour cream
about 3 dl (1¼ cups) flour
about 1¼ litres (5 cups) full fat milk
¾ teaspoon salt
Simmer sour cream, covered, about 15 minutes. Sift over 1/3 of the flour. Simmer until the butterfat begins to leach out. Skim off the fat. Sift over the remaining flour and bring to a boil. Bring the milk to a boil and thin the porridge to desired consistency. Whisk until smooth. Simmer about 10 minutes, and season with salt. Serve with the fat, sugar and cinnamon.

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Microwave Rømmegrøt (Serves 6)
1 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups half & half
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup sugar
¾ tps. salt
Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Stir in flour with wire whisk. Cook until mixture bubbles; cook 30 seconds longer. Heat half & half and milk together; slowly add to flour mixture. Stir with wire whisk while mixing. Return to microwave until mixture begins to boil, about 2 minutes. Remove from microwave; stir in sugar and salt. Microwave 30 seconds longer. Add more hot milk if necessary to reach desired consistency. Service warm with melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar, if desired.

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Herring Soup/Porridge
3 quarts (litres) stock
6 potatoes
rutabaga
carrot
onion
1¼ cups (3 dl) soaked pearl barley
thyme
pepper
6 salt herring fillets, soaked and ready to use
Make stock broth from leftover smoked leg of mutton. Cut potatoes and vegetables into pieces. Cook with barley and seasoning in the stock for about 30 min. Cut herring fillets into 1 inch (2½ cm) pieces and add to ingredients the last 10 min. If there is any meat left on the mutton shank, cut off and add to broth. Serve with homemade flatbread.

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