While winter means a barren landscape void of fruits and vegetables and wild herbs, life is teeming and thriving under the waters. In fact, winter in Norway is the best season to feast on fish and seafood along the coast despite the love affair we associate with consuming them during the warm, summer months.
Cod is one type of fish that happens to be in the best condition during the colder months. There is even an old saying in Norway stating that cod is at its best when eaten in all the months with the letter ‘r’ in them – meaning, all months except for May, June, July, and August.
Torsk har ypperlig kvalitet i alle måneder med “r”.
Cod is incredibly valuable to the coastal cities. It remains to this day an important commodity to trade as well as being critical to the Norwegian diet. Aside from serving it fresh, cod is also dried and salted for preservation and used in dishes like bacaloa (salted and dried cod stew).
One classic dish you’ll find across Norway with cod in it is fiskesuppe (fish soup). Fish soup featuring only cod is referred to as torskesuppe (cod soup). This creamy soup is so simple and yet so decadent. It’s more well-known relative, Bergen’s fiskesuppe, includes a variety of fish, shrimps, and vegetables seasoned with a little vinegar and sugar to finish it off. Classic cod soup, on the other hand, is a simpler version retaining that silky broth with only a few ingredients. A delicious and heartwarming dish, which is heartily welcome on any cold day.
You can serve this soup as is or with a few pieces of flatbread or slices of crusty bread. Feel free to use grated carrots if you prefer the texture over peeled carrots, just be sure to cook them at the same time as the onions.
Creamy Norwegian Cod Soup (Torskesuppe)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups (480 ml) fish stock
- 2 medium carrots, peeled into strips (with a vegetable peeler)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
- ¾ cup (180 ml) crème fraîche
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound (450 g) boneless cod filet, cut into bite-size pieces
- Coarsely ground pepper, to taste
- Fresh dill, to garnish
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
Pour in the fish stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat slightly and reduce to a simmer. Add in the carrot strips and cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream, crème fraîche, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Add the cod pieces and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cod is cooked through.
Remove from the heat. Taste and season with coarsely ground pepper and more salt, if desired. Top with fresh dill (the easiest way is to use a pair of scissors to trim off the tops of the dill fronds/leaves) and serve immediately.
Try out these other delicious recipes featuring cod: