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Stories from Norway

Norwegian saithe – The everyday choice

Nothing is as delicious and dependable as Norwegian saithe. Perfect for your everyday dinners, and absolutely delicious.

Norwegian saithe – The everyday choice

Saithe - a versatile fish

The award-winning master chef, Christian André Pettersen, places the fresh Norwegian saithe on the clean wooden cutting board. Pettersen, who is representing Norway in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Lyon culinary championships, has a special predilection for this remarkably versatile fish. After all, he once won a national championship using Norwegian saithe.

See all our recipes with saithe here.

Exquisite taste, colour and texture

"What I love most about this fish is its colour, taste and texture," he says.

The sharp knife cuts down the spine, revealing a unique pearly grey flesh in the fillet of the fish.

"Look at this exquisite colour," he says.

The Norwegian saithe is known by a number of different names – including Atlantic pollock, coley and coalfish. The Norwegian saithe is often referred to as the gray queen of the sea due to its extraordinary colors and fleshy meat.

"Its strength and power are what give the Norwegian saithe its firm and almost bouncy texture, making it an impeccable fish for frying, grilling and baking pan recipes."
Master chef Christian André Pettersen

A savory and versatile fish

What sets the Norwegian saithe part from other white fish, like cod, is the fact that it has more flavor. Pettersen explains that the rich flavor means it goes well with stronger herbs and spices.

"Try frying it in butter and season it with strong-tasting herbs. Coriander, thyme or tarragon, and even strong-flavored vegetables like fennel, go well with saithe. Preparing an everyday luxury could hardly be easier."

Even Asian ingredients, such as soy and ginger, are a perfect match for this tasty and magnificent white fish. Try an Eastern inspired fish soup with Norwegian saithe.

The secret behind the taste in such a high-quality fish is its origin.

Origin matters when it comes to saithe

Out in the Norwegian Sea

In the far north, above the Arctic circle, Frank Jarl Lunde is about to head out to sea to look for saithe. Lunde finds himself 15 nautical miles off the coastline, and he is all alone. If he were to continue heading west, he would eventually reach Greenland. Here, beneath the surface of the Norwegian Sea is where the Norwegian saithe roams freely.

"These are the perfect living conditions for the fish. The strong ocean currents carry with them a high amount of nutrition to this ice-cold Norwegian Sea. When we catch the wild and free-roaming saithe in these waters, they are the perfect sustainable product," says Frank.

It is important to handle the saithe carefully in order to preserve its unique taste and texture. To do so, Frank and other fishermen use a jig when fishing for saithe. A jig is a fishing tool that consists of a lead sinker and 15 hooks. "When we use a jig, we only catch a few fish at a time. It allows us to handle every fish with care in order to sustain the high quality in the meat," he explains.

Pan-fried saithe

Back at the restaurant the gourmet chef is preparing a dish of fried Norwegian saithe, seasoned with fresh herbs.

"To create a nice crust on the saithe, you will often fry the fish in a frying pan. Since the saithe is such a firm and lean fish, it can withstand a lot of heat."

To get a nice tasty crust, start by turning the fillet in a little flour, and add salt and pepper. Put the fish in a frying pan and fry at a medium-high temperature with lots of oil. Turn the fish and add a slice of butter.

"It is easy to see and feel when the saithe is ready, just as it is with a steak. When the saithe is ready to fall apart, it is done. Serve with potatoes and vegetables. It makes a perfect easy-to-cook everyday meal."