Salted fish delicacies: What is salted fish? Workshop 2022




Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Þóra Valsdóttir, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Eva Margrét Jónudóttir, Sigurjón Arason

Supported by:

AG Fisk (Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbejdet), NORA


Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

To strengthen the position of saltfish, with its long tradition, history and connection to Nordic livelihoods, it is important to strengthen the entire value chain, from producers and retailers, to chefs and consumers. The aim of the project "Saltfish delicacies" is to develop new or improved ready-made dishes based on traditional saltfish, and 16 participants from Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands are involved. The group consists of experts in saltfish processing and quality, cooking, food production, media and the travel industry.   

This report describes the workshop "What is saltfish?" which was held in the house of the Menntaskólin in Kópavogur, September 28, 2022 in collaboration with Matís, the Menntaskólin in Kópavogur (MK), Grím Kokk, Klúbbs Matreiðslumeista and Icelandic saltfish producers. The goal of the workshop was to share knowledge from various sources, and look for ways to strengthen the position of salted fish in the domestic market, and about 40 people attended the workshop. Short presentations were given by Matís experts on the history, culture, effectiveness and dewatering of salted fish. Also about the knowledge and attitude of consumers towards salted fish and its consumption in Iceland. The sensory properties of salted fish were presented, and attendees had the opportunity to taste and compare two types of salted fish and two types of salted fish. MK culinary students then presented their ideas behind salted fish dishes, which were served on the table. After that, we worked in three groups, each of which discussed the following topics: "What is salted fish - can we call salted fish salted fish?", "How do we reach the young people?" and "How can the product range be increased?".

The results of the workshop showed that it is important to distinguish between what is truly salted fish on the one hand and salted fish on the other. Salted fish, usually lightly salted or overnight salted, does not have the same characteristics as salted fish, which is fish finished with salt and brine and then dry-salted even for weeks, which after dehydration gives this product unique properties such as a characteristic taste and firm texture. It seems that there are endless opportunities and opportunities for the saltfish. However, we need to pay better for the way of salted fish to the Icelandic market. Saltfish should really be to us Icelanders, on par with what Parma ham is to Italians, at least. To promote knowledge, respect and consumption of salted fish, it needs to be better known and made more visible, not least among younger age groups. What hinders chefs and producers of products is that it is often difficult to obtain fully prepared, properly watered salted fish domestically. Dewatering requires a problem, but often the facilities, time or knowledge are not available. We need to reach younger consumers and improve the reputation of salted fish in general. The name saltfish is not very appropriate, as it has a reference to salted fish and has a negative image due to its association with second class fish. Dehydrated salted fish should not be too salty. Perhaps finished, dehydrated saltfish should be called something other than saltfish.

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