News News [Saint Paul Pioneer Press]
Friday, July 28, 2006

For The Love Of Lutefisk

Some people love it; some people hate it, but there’s no doubt that lutefisk has its own special spot in Norwegian cuisine. Lately, though, we’ve been wondering if the lye-soaked stockfish has become a bit tastier. Viking talked with Chris Dorff, president of Olsen Fish Co. in Minneapolis, North America’s largest processor of lutefisk, to find out.

Although Dorff says Olsen Fish Co.’s recipe hasn’t changed in the last 20 years, he does credit technological advancements and new FDA regulations for an improvement in taste and cleanliness over the last 30 years.

For example, he says, in the 1970’s producers began drying cod in highly regulated and maintained drying rooms, as opposed to hanging the fish outside. These drying rooms have increased the overall efficiency of the drying processes and, because of their consistent temperature, keep the fish from freezing in the cold or molding in the heat. Another important step occurred in the 1980s, when the FDA banned the use of mercury in the lutefisk lye due to potential harsh effects on handlers’ health.

For those looking to make their own lutefisk, Olsen Fish Co. sells dried Norwegian stockfish. If you’d rather eat it than make it, the company also supplies plenty of pre-made fresh and frozen lutefisk. For information, visit or call 800-882-0212.

2115 North 2nd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411
Phone: (612) 287-0838 Fax: (612) 287-8761