“Cod is best during the winter. Of course, you must’ve known 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 typically closed. And in terms of flavour, the winter season cod was nothing to write home about. So what was he talking about? Egil, taking my blank expression as his cue, 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 is the spawning cod available in one fishery but not the other?
This post is about rediscovering a fish that I was practically raised with in Newfoundland. I look into the “skrei” fishery, which refers to the unique Northeast Arctic cod stock - which represents world’s the only remaining sustainable cod fishery. I also share a great 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.