Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Perhaps the best known dried fish in the West is the Scandinavian stockfish, which traditionally has been cod, ling, or their relatives, freeze-dried for several weeks on rocky beaches along the cold, windy coasts of Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. The result is a hard, light slab that’s nearly all protein and has a pronounced, almost gamy flavor when cooked. Today, stockfish is mechanically air-dried for two to three months at 40–50°F/5–10°C. Stockfish fanciers in Scandinavia and the Mediterranean region reconstitute the woody mass in water for from one to several days, with frequent changes to prevent bacterial growth. The skin is then removed and the fish gently simmered, then served in pieces, in boneless flakes, or else pounded into a paste, and with a variety of enrichments and flavorings: in the north, often butter and mustard; in the Mediterranean, olive oil and garlic.