Almost immediately after it tosses and turns in the water, it´s ready to be served on your platter. In Northern Norway, they are totally hooked on the fresh delicacies of the sea.
Text: Julie Nordby Egeland
It´s a busy day at Anita´s small fish stall at “Sakrisøy” in Lofoten. Her son, Carl Fredrik, has just pulled up hundreds of hooks with today´s catch out on the fjord, and is hurrying
back to supply the fish counter with newly pulled halibut and pollock. As soon as he returns, Anita and her husband quickly start gutting and preparing the catch.
“The road from the fish being alive and sprawling in the ocean till it reaches the counter is very short indeed”, says the owner – Anita Gylseth. “We are a family business, and very concerned with having fresh and strictly local produces everyday”.
In summer time, Anita´s counter bulges with fresh temptations from the sea.
Homemade smoked salmon, fresh shrimps, blue halibut and gulls eggs are just some of the specialties you´ll find here. Not to mention the big pollock, which Anita also turns into fish-burgers. “We sell what the sea has to offer at a day to day basis, it´s as simple as that”, she says.
for the long lines in the history of northern fishing. They know what they are doing. They have done it for generations.
“My children will be the fifth generation of fishermen”, Anita says. “I think it´s important to take care of our tradition and local food culture, and share it with our visitors. We try our best to do so”.
If you´re craving something bigger than mussels or shrimps, the giant sized king crab can be found in the frigid waters of the Barents Sea, just outside the town of Kirkenes.
Here, a riverboat takes you out on the open ocean, where you can catch your own crab – and dinner. Just make sure to watch your body parts. A red king crab can measure up to two meters from claw to claw, and can easily chop off your finger if it gets in the way. You may therefore prefer to let the experienced northern divers and fishermen manage the creature for you.
All you have to do is lean back and listen to an old fisherman story or two, while the crab is brought up from the deep. As soon as the crab reaches the surface, it gets prepared and cooked right in front of you. It´s almost needless to say that the meal that follows is in a league of its own. An absolute feast awaits. And don´t worry – you won´t have to drool over the pot for too long.
“Actually, we don´t boil the king crab. We gently damp it to contain the substance and succulence,” Hans Hatle, a northern king crab cooker, explains. “And it only needs 8 minutes in the pot before it´s ready to eat. It doesn't get any fresher than that”.
The king of the sea might be a beast on the outside, but it´s a rare beauty on the inside. “After you´ve tasted freshly prepared king crab, regular crab will never be the same again”, Hatle says while dreaming away: “ The white meat of its legs and claws is really exceptionally juicy and sweet”.
Anita´s seafood – Located at Sakrisøya, this yellow abundant fish stall has most of the fresh delicacies that Lofoten has to offer. By the entrance, you can also find the Norwegian specialty clipfish and nice stables of stockfish.
The Finnmarksvidda Mountain Plateau – This outstanding freshwater is every fisherman’s dream. Fish a trout, grill it on glowing fire and garnish with some wild herbs – or make a local catch it for you.
King crab safari –The king crab can be found in the frigid waters of Finnmark. Take a boat out into Barents Sea , smell the salt air and catch a crab. Back on land or in the boat the crab is served with garlic mayonnaise, baked bread and white wine.
Arctandria Seafood Restaurant – Located in Tromsø, this restaurant combines tradition with a modern twist. Try the salted and smoked seal meat or smoked arctic char.
Lofoten Stockfish Museum – Stockfish is Norway's oldest export commodity. At the Lofoten Stockfish Museum in “Å”, you can follow the cod from the ocean to the Italian dinner table.