“Cod is best during the winter. Of course, you knew that, coming from Newfoundland?” I was with my Norwegian colleague, Egil, at the university I work at in Trondheim. I returned his question with a blank stare. During much of the winter in Newfoundland, the cod fishery is closed. And when it was available, I don't recall winter season cod being anything to write home about. So what was he talking about? Taking my silence as his cue, Egil launched into a lesson with a seafood lover's zeal. “The cod is spawning at this time of year. We call them skrei. They are full of health, full of flavour, and - most importantly - full of roe. It’s traditional to boil the cod and serve it with its roe and liver. It’s a meal for celebrations!”
I was totally stunned. Same fish, different side of the pond. So why was the spawning cod considered a delicacy in one fishery but virtually unheard of in the other?
This post is about rediscovering a fish in Norway that I was practically raised with in Newfoundland. I look into the skrei fishery, which refers to the unique Northeast Arctic Cod stock - and represents the world’s only remaining sustainable cod fishery. I also share a fantastic recipe that I've tested over the past several weeks for poached cod with its roe and liver, prepared in the traditional Norwegian style.
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.