Lutefisk Lovers - Love Tonight…

The traditional lute fish is made from dryfish which is rooted. That in some recipes it is made from clipfish is only an exception. Lutefisk is dryfish which has been placed in an alkaline solution, or in other words - lye; hence the name lutefisk.

There are many stories about the origin of lutefish. Some stories tell of how the fish ended up in the washbasin that contained lye, as many could not afford it, so the fish was put in water and later boiled, while hoping for the best. Other stories tell of fires in different varieties. In any case, the heels were also burned and the fish fell to the ground and covered with ashes. After a few days of rain, the fish was found again and the surprise was great when it was so changed that it looked like fresh fish. The fish was watered, cleaned and boiled and whoever had to taste the first piece could either be someone who was brave or he who pulled the shortest straw. We will probably never find out what the truth is - but the result is here to stay ……

In Hanna Winsnes cookbook from 1845 one can almost believe that the stories with ashes are correct. In the past, ashes were made of ash. The cookbook also specifies the ratio of ash to water for lye to lutefisk. 4 topped liters of birch ash
12-14 liters of water
1/2 liter of lime
Lime was probably used to give the fish flesh a whiter color.

Today, caustic soda is used, which is purchased in the shop, which is mixed with water. How fish consistency becomes after luting depends on several factors, including how much lye one uses and how long the fish lays. The more lye and the longer the fish lays, the more gel-like texture the fish gets.

This recipe is taken from Jahn Otto Johansen's book on lutefisk.

Place the dry fish in plenty of cold water. Leave it for 7 days and change water twice a day.

Make lye of 30 liters of boiling water and 3 tablespoons caustic soda. (The amount here must be adjusted based on how much fish you water. The lye mixture must cover well the fish. Cool the lye and put in the fish. Leave it in the lye for 36-48 hours. that the longer it lays the more trembling it becomes, then have the fish in running cold water for 2 days.


Lutefisk can be prepared in 2 ways. Either in oven or in casserole.

How to cook lutefisk. Would recommend that you do not use an aluminum kettle as they are discolored by lye. Use a kettle with a grate, possibly a fish kettle Keep water in the kettle and place the lutefisk on the grate with the skin side down. Sprinkle with salt. Put the kettle on the plate and cook. Put lid on and let fish steam until done. It takes about 10 minutes per kg of lutefisk.

Lutefisk cooked in oven.

You will need this for 4 people.

  • about 3 kg of lutefisk
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • coarsely ground pepper

Place the fish in a refractory form or in the pan. Set the oven to 200 ° C. Put the fish face down. Sprinkle salt over. Cover with lid or aluminum foil. Put it in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes. Check the lutefish before full time. It is important that it does not stand for too long. If you cook less than 3 kg, the cooking time will be shorter. Calculate approximately 15 minutes per kg of lutefisk. Remember that the temperature of the lutefish when it is put in the oven is important for the cooking time. Large cold pieces need longer than small, room-temperature pieces.

The accessories can vary from place to place, some of the most common are;

  • bacon
  • pea stew
  • grated brown cheese
  • mustard
  • lefse
  • dark syrup
  • potatoes
  • White sauce
  • swede mashed
  • egg butter
  • melted butter
  • cold butter
  • flatbread
  • crowberry syrup
  • pork fat
  • yellow pea stew (should be served with the windows ajar - but it tastes heavenly)
  • sauerkraut
  • jam / Boston cucumber

Beer and aquavit are almost a matter of course, but you can drink both red and white wine as well.

Only the imagination sets limits here.

If you have an accessory that is not on this list then send us an email if it is something that MUST be tried. The mail can be sent here.