Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
LUTEFISK & LEFSE Taste Test | Norwegian lye treated fish Christmas Dinner

LUTEFISK & LEFSE Taste Test | Norwegian lye treated fish Christmas Dinner


Greetings my lovelies! Hello, it’s Emmy, welcome back. Today I’m going to be interrupting our five days of gutmas, and I’m going to be tasting this I just received this in the mail, and it was sent to me by lovely Teresa. Teresa, Thank you so much for sending this to me. I’ve wanted to taste this for a long time. This is also not the first time Teresa has sent me a wonderful package — if you missed my Wisconsin tasting you should definitely check it out. It is super comprehensive and delicious including beers and meats and cheeses I will put the link up there and down below, and you must check it out because now I really need to visit Wisconscin. This is lutefisk and it’s traditional food that is eaten in the Upper Midwest around the holidays that is why I am interrupting Gutmas to taste this because this is specifically something that’s eaten during the holidays so lutefisk was brought over by Scandinavian immigrants to the Upper Midwest states including, Wisconsin Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa And it is eaten there during the holidays, and what it is is salted dried Cod that has been Rehydrated in a live solution, so lye Is very caustic substance and is actually used in soap making. You take lye and you add it to a fat It could be oil or it could be lard and you mix those together And you actually make soap so this fish has been treated with lye And it must be rinsed and washed several times to get that Substance out of there this lutefisk is made by the Olson company and they’ve been in business for a very long time So the Olson company is based in Minneapolis, and they make the most lutefisk in the world They actually export some of this to Sweden and Norway There’s a photo here on the back from 1910 and there are three different ways to make it An old-fashioned boiling, traditional baking — you can even microwave it. Today, I’m going to do the old fashioned boiling technique This is traditionally served with either a cream sauce or lots of melted butter and Boiled potatoes. Theresa actually confesses that she doesn’t like lutefisk, but it is traditional And she really wants me to try it, so I’m going to give that a go But she also includes something that she really does love and it is this And this is called lefse and lefse is a type of bread. It’s made with potatoes. It looks a lot like a tortilla and This is served with lots of melted butter again and sugar and sometimes cinnamon sugar So I’m going to prepare the lutefisk first, and then I’m gonna have the left side for dessert all right So let’s go ahead and get started love this pot. I found this in a thrift store; one of my favorite thrift store finds It’s a dense vintage enamel pot. Love it, and we’re gonna place the lutefisk in there and boil it for 8 to 10 minutes While that’s going, I’m gonna take the fish out Wow that’s a lot of fish and immediately I smell it and it smells very very fishy. Show you what it looks like up close Very pale in color. Alright, and goes the lutefisk. All right to put that in there gently I’m gonna cover that And simmer that for about eight to ten minutes until the fish is cooked. All right, be right back. So it has been eight minutes. I’m going to fish my fish out of the boiling water It does smell a little bit fishy, but it’s not entirely unpleasant It’s kind of steamy and moist kind of like when you walk by the fish department And they’re steaming a bunch of lobsters kind of that kind of humidity, but a little bit of a fishy smell All right, so here’s our fish. Oh my gosh look at this look. It’s kind of puffed up. Oh, and it’s kind of gelatinous Oh my gosh So lutefisk is traditionally served with some boiled potatoes, so I’ve got some here a little bit of green This texture is wonderful All right, let’s go ahead and give our lutefisk a taste. I’ve got myself a bunch of melted butter I’m going to pour that over the potatoes and over the fish. YUM! This texture is phenomenal. It’s got this really great bouncy gelatinous texture. All right, let’s try the fish by itself first Happy holidays. Itadakimasu! Wow, it’s actually got a really light flavour The fish flavour is actually very very subtle, but what I find really interesting about this is the texture. It’s got the most curious Gelatinous jelly texture, it’s like jello, but it’s hot and fishy Hmm. For whatever reason I thought this was gonna taste really fishy, but it doesn’t hardly at all actually and with the butter it’s actually quite nice. I don’t mind this at all! This is also served with the cream sauce and I could imagine that it would be delectable that way as well with that creamy sauce Kind of like chowder-esque. With the butter, it’s not bad Wow, you don’t even have to chew it. It just kind of just Melts jelly-like in your mouth. You definitely have to have the butter or the cream sauce to give it some richness Because it’s pretty bland. It’s boiled and slightly fishy, but the texture is marvellous. Let’s have a bite with potato Mm. Mm hmm. Oh, that’s great, I really like it with the potato; The potato gives it some textural oof! You’ve got some other substance going on in terms of mouthfeel It’s also soft and crumbly but it’s got a little bit more body and bite than the lutefisk itself. That textural contrast and of course the flavor of the potato as well really rounds out the lutefisk. It makes it more of a meal. Mm-hmm — and it just makes it taste good as well. It’s actually good, i like it. I like lutefisk, I do. Very simple, humble. I like it. So now that we’ve had the lutefisk, let’s taste the Lefse! So here’s the Lefse and from the looks of it, this is probably made in a really large sheet and Then it’s cut into these triangles, and this is made with potatoes. Warm ’em up with my riddle. Just a little bit, so this looks a little bit similar to a tortilla But it’s actually thinner and it’s got more of a rubbery, floppier texture than a tortilla, so it’s warming up real quick take the left side, and I’m going to add some melted butter I’m gonna use some cinnamon sugar Teresa says she uses plain sugar But what doesn’t taste better with butter and sugar, right? All right, we’re gonna generously coat that with some sugar, and then we’re gonna roll it up Oh my gosh, this is gonna be fantastic It’s all kind of swirled in there. Alright, here we go. That’s delicious. Scrumptious. Warm, chewy. It has a really a delightful texture, so it looks like a tortilla by Gestalt, but tastes nothing like a tortilla It has a more neutral flavor than our tortilla I feel like a tortilla has a little slight kind of almost sourdough e Flavor to it this does not at all it has a little bit of chew it’s a little bit thinner it has some a more elastic, kind of chewier texture Mm. And it just goes so well with the butter and the cinnamon sugar Delicious, hm. Would say that it’s actually more similar to a French crepe but this is more sturdy than a crepe, a crepe is a little bit lighter and Delicate and really soft and floppy — this is definitely sturdier but it’s kind of thin and absorbs all of that butter and sugar. Wonderful. So good. It’s like cinnamon toast’s Scandinavian cousin Delicious; So there you have it, a traditional Scandinavian and Scandinavian-American holiday meal big Thanks again, Teresa for sending this to me, It’s absolutely amazing. She packed the lutefisk and ice and had it shipped to me Incredible, thank you so much for your dedication and your generosity and thank you guys so much for watching I hope you guys enjoyed that one I hope you guys learned something. If you want to see another Scandinavian American treat that I recently had check out my egg coffee It uses an egg where you put that into your coffee grounds, and you boil it together But it proves an amazing cup of coffee. Yeah, check out the links in there and down below. You know, wherever. Alright, I hope you guys are having a great holiday season. Be sure to come back here tomorrow for the last day of gutmas And I will be tasting some other interesting curious treats, and it will be Christmas, so Merry Christmas to you guys! And I shall see you tomorrow. Tooda-loo, take care! Bye! Why does it come out like that?

90 comments on “LUTEFISK & LEFSE Taste Test | Norwegian lye treated fish Christmas Dinner

  1. My grandpa loved lutefisk. Once in a while my church used to do a lutefisk and spaghetti dinner, as in lutefisk for the few who liked it and spaghetti for the rest of us.

  2. Haha, when I made the other comment (yesterday? or the day before?) I was unaware you'd already tried lutefisk. While it's properly wobbly, to me it's not proper lutefisk until it has gotten some of the yellow colouring from the lye (it's also better if cooked in the oven) xD We also don't use the cream sauce (never heard of), I'm not sure what that is, but very curious. My family at least serves it with fried bacon, mashed peas (I'm not a fan of them though) and boiled potatoes, and it's really good.

    As for the lefse, that looks alright, but tynnlefse is where it's really at (google it). It's a thin lefse (not made from potatoes but wheat flour) wrapped/rolled around a mix of butter and sugar and cinnamon. Sometimes brown cheese is in the mix as well, which is also pretty good.

  3. wait until you taste Surstromming fermented herring from the Baltic sea you'll never eat it again haha made me puke but some people say once you get past the putrid smell the taste is sublime.

  4. I'm from Finland and my family usually eat it for Christmas. But with boiled potatoes, lutfisk (in Swedish), bechamel sauce and some white pepper. That way it's really good

  5. Years ago I learned how to make lefse from my in-laws, who were both and raised in Minnesota. Yum!!! They gave me a special lefse rolling pin and lefse stick/paddle. Thankfully, they've never made me try lutefisk.

  6. From Minnesota here, living in a town filled with all things Scandinavia, Norway and such; just chiming in… I thought if it's that snotty texture, it's overcooked. I'm not sure, but is it technically already cooked (chemically) by soaking it in lye? The boiling or baking is just to heat it up? Baked usually works better, making it firmer. And I love lefse with just butter so you taste the potato; also good with lingonberries. Yum!

  7. I've heard Garrison Keillor joke about lutefisk, but never aspired to taste it. Thanks, brave Emmy, for trying it and reporting, so we don't have to.

  8. Born and raised in Wisconsin. Lefse was my favorite food!! Lutefisk is okay, I didnt mind it but the lye freaked me out

  9. The old-timers made a lutefisk wrap with buttered lefse, sometimes adding salt and , less often, pepper. The lefse was not cut in triangular pizza-pie slices. Some people used whole pieces a lefse that were smaller– maybe 12 inches in diameter. Others Took a larger piece and tore in half and had there own techniques for making a wrap with thecredulting semi-circle of lefse.

  10. I like how she started speaking in a Minnesotan accent. Emmy pronounced Lutefisk the same way my mom would. I always put brown sugar and soften butter on our lefse we never heated the Lefse up before eating it.

  11. Always wanted to try Lutefisk ever since that one King of the Hill episode. Bobby Hill made it look so appetizing and you've definitely helped boost his case.

  12. I'm from Indiana, I have always wondered why we are considered the midwest when we are more toward the East. Randomly rethought this while Emmy was talking about the Midwest & I decided to share. I think Indiana, Illinois, Ohio & Michigan are just "Mid" … thoughts?

  13. You need to try Limburger cheese, another Wisconsin favorite. Also Wisconsin loves “cannibal” sandwiches. Ground beef on rye bread topped with onion. Raw ground beef.

  14. Here in Indiana, we didn't have lutefisk of course but our Grandparents on my Dad's side liked a salted and lightly smoked fish much like English kippers. Dad and his brother said it was usually served for Sunday brunch after church when it could be soaked to remove some of the saltiness and then either lightly fried or steamed. It was served with boiled or baked potatoes with fresh cream or sour cream, an egg dish and whatever veggies their Mom decided on as side dishes. Often pickled beets were a nice side dish. Yes, it does sound somewhat Scandinavian, though the family roots are from Switzerland. It took some time to pick out the bones so it was nice for a leisurely brunch for family and friends. I have tried to find this fish and OMG it is expensive now! Funny, back then it was food for the poor, sold in small barrels.

  15. As for lefse. My grandfather was 100%Norwegian and my grandmother had a wood stove in the basement and once or twice a year she would make lefse for my grandfather. It does, indeed look like a flour tortilla, but it doesnt taste like one. As for how you eat it , that depends on what part or Norway youre from. Some parts of Norway , roll it up and eat it kind of like bread as an accompanyment to a meal, other parts eat it like a dessert (my sister would eat it with jelly on it) and still other areas eat it with a gravy or a sauce as a replacement for potatoes . So there you have it. I just thought people might be interested .

  16. When we would have it it would be flaky not gelatinous. You have to cook it just right. We would eat the lefsa with our meal.

  17. The Olson company is definitely the best in the business. I love their Pickled Herring.

    You also need meatballs and gravy. I am from Minnesota and has had this dish many times…… wither I wanted it or not.

  18. Even though I'm Minnesotan, I just don't do fish so will never try lutefisk – however a friend of mine says in her family they make "burritos" using lefse as the tortilla, then filled with lutefisk and mashed potatoes. Move over Chipotle!

  19. You are the only person I've ever seen try to eat lutefisk and not gag on it. I'm from Minnesota, and I've never met anyone who claimed to like lutefisk. Lefse, on the other had, is awesome! I remember my grandmother making it fresh every Christmas when I was a kid.

  20. The Irish claim that they invented lutefisk. They were tired of the Vikings raiding their coastal towns, so they soaked fish in lye hoping it would kill them, or at least make them sick. Instead, the Vikings liked it.

  21. Id probably actually really like it. I love white fish, and recently I tried my grandfather's pickled herring and surprisingly enjoyed it. Its actually pretty sweet, which Id never expect.

  22. Asians do often enjoy gelatinous foods. Scandinavians and Asians I suppose? 😊 well to each his/her own. I for one do not think I’d enjoy it but I have to say as always, you made more interested in a food I was previously totally grossed out by. You beautiful genius.

  23. I think the lutefisk would be good rolled up with some potato into the lefske. I'm also curious how the baked lutefisk would be.

  24. The only experience I've had with lutefisk was the first Christmas my 1st Gen Norwegian-American boyfriend (now husband) and I were together. His parents (immigrants here from Norway) invited us to a "traditional lutefisk dinner" with their other Norwegian ex-pat friends. Excited to prove my dedication to my new boyfriend's culture (I am Texan, so there's not much more opposite than Norwegians, BTW), I eagerly approached the day, barely noticing my boyfriend and his siblings were less than thrilled at the prospect.
    So there I was, plate of glorious Norwegian lutefisk in front of me. I took a bite … and really, really had to work not to gag in front of everyone, most especially my hopefully-future-in-laws. It was HORRID. Rubbery. Chewy. Bland. Most definitely not "delightfully gelatinous", and NOT a wonderful texture. (They must not have used the brand in this video!) And then someone at the table noticed I was having a hard time. They laughed and said, "It's okay, dear, no one really LIKES lutefisk. We just eat it to honor being Norwegian."
    I have never eaten it since. And though we have been married for nearly 28 years, lutefisk has never crossed the threshold of my home.
    Lefse, on the other hand … YUM!

  25. Emmy, our family had this fish every Christmas served with boiled potatoes with a delicious white sauce dusted with white pepper. Mmmm😛

  26. My mother-in-law was Norwegian. Every Christmas Eve I suffered the Lutefisk and boiled potatoes to keep her company while my husband, father and brothers-in-laws chose the spaghetti and meatballs. So bland to me…and the jelly texture…😜!(Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more with some color on the plate)…

  27. My college went to a band convention a few years back. The adjudicator told us about her college band uniforms from a little Lutheran school in South Dakota. The band uniforms were a furry pair of Viking pants with a helmet with horns and blond braids… But their band chant was most endearing. "Lutefisk, lutefisk, lefse, lefse, we're the mighty Vikings, oh ya you betcha!"

  28. Totally unappealing to me. Want to serve me seafood? I'd like some baked rockfish stuffed with fin lumped blue channel crab meat.

  29. I just can't belive that you fronting 'lutefisk' 😀 But sorry, you are doing it wrong. We put it in the oven for damping covered with alu-folie for about 20 min. Then it is perfec. Never ,ever, ever boil lutefisk in a kettle in water. But this is a great try. Love you 😀

  30. I like the lutefish more firm. You get that by adding more salt in the cooking water. Or salt it for two hours, rinse off the salt and bake it covered in the oven. Can also make a lutefish wrap with the lefse 🙂

  31. We ate lutefisk Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve every year in Saskatchewan. Topped with melted butter and cream sauce and always Allspice

  32. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love lutefisk and your description of it is exactly what I remembered. The lefsa is also awesome.

  33. In my part of Norway you'd usually just spread soft (not melted) butter on the lefse, put the lutefisk on top of that, then roll or fold it all up and just eat it like that with your hands. Very simple!

    No need for potatoes, as the lefse already has potato in it.

    I also don't understand why some people like to eat bacon and mashed green peas with lutefisk.
    Just seems redundant. I'll save that stuff for the meat dishes thank you.
    I think it's just so that people that really don't like lutefisk is actually able to get it down.
    A good quality lefse and butter is all you need, really.
    Just remember to put salt on the fish before cooking it, otherwise it will literally taste like nothing.

    And as you said, the fishy taste should be quite mild if the lutefisk is of a good quality.
    You'll get quite a strong, fishy smell right as you open up the packet of course, but once you start cooking it that will mostly dissipate.

    You can also cook the lutefisk on a tray in the oven instead of boiling it in a pot.
    This is my preffered method, as boiling it has a high chance of makeing the already fragile and jelationous lutefisk too watery and loose.
    If you use too much water and/or boil the lutefisk for too long it wil turn into this unapetizing, soupy mess, or even worse- dissipate completely leaving you with a VERY watery fish soup… UGH!
    By cooking it in the oven you avoid all of that and it stays nice and firm.

  34. I found this after I saw that episode of king of the hill where Bobby ate that lutefisk and i haven’t stopped watching you ever since. 😂😭

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