Icelandic Dried Fish

Dried fish is a staple in traditional Icelandic culture, often served at celebrations and can be purchased from most stores. Known as “Harðfiskur,” the name translates to “hard fish.” There are two types of fish typically used, haddock and catfish, which is much stronger in flavor and smell. The taste varies and is entirely dependent the preparation methods used. Traditionally, Harðfiskur was a way of preserving freshly caught fish, along with having a source of food during the winter months. Haddock and catfish are wind dried for months and once ready, smashed into small pieces with a hammer until they become soft enough to eat. Although the process sounds simple, the drying time is crucial. Too much time results in the Harðfiskur losing flavor, but if the hard fish does not have enough time to dry, the oil and water content in the fish produces a sour taste.