Rakfisk is a traditional eastern Norwegian
fish dish made from trout or sometimes char, salted and fermented for
two to three months, then eaten without cooking.
Fisk is the Norwegian word for "fish."
Rak derives from the word rakr in Norse language, meaning
"moist" or "soaked".
Left: Rakfisk served
lefse, onion and sour cream.
Rakfisk is made from fresh trout or char, preferably over
750g. Remove the gills and guts and rinse well so that all the blood is gone.
Scrub the blood stripe with a fish brush. Rinse the fish and put it in vinegar
solution for about half an hour. Let the fish rest and the vinegar run off for a
while. Then place the fish in a bucket with straight sides, close side-by-side
with the abdomen facing up. Fill the abdomen with sea salt (60g per kilogram of
fish). Sprinkle tiny amounts of sugar on the fish to speed up the "raking", but
not more than a pinch for each layer of fish.
Then place the fish under pressure with a lid that fits down into the bucket and
a weight on top. The rakfisk bucket is put in a cold place (a stable temperature
at about 4 degrees Celsius is the best, but it should be below 8 degrees Celsius
at least). After a couple of days you should check if the fish is brined. If not
enough fluid has formed to completely cover the fish, add salt brine containing
40g salt per litre of water. The fish may be placed at a higher temperature for
some days to make it brine better, but one should be very careful with this.
Leave the rakfisk for two to three months. Rakfisk is well conserved in the
brine. When the fish is appropriately "rak," you can put it into a fresh 4% salt
brine, which will slow down the "raking" process. Another method for slowing it
down is to put the tub in the freezer (or outside if cold enough) for some time.
As long as the fish is lying in the brine it will not freeze.
The finished product does not need cooking but is eaten as it is. Rakfisk is
usually served sliced or as a fillet on flatbrød or
with raw onion, sour cream, and almond potatoes. Some also use mustard-sauce, a
mild form of mustard with dill. Although not an everyday meal, approximately 500
tonnes of rakfisk are consumed in Norway annually.
It is not recommended that rakfisk be eaten by people with a reduced immune
defense or by pregnant women.