Walking down one of the main streets in old town Ålesund (the costal town is famous in Norway for burning down in 1904, before being rebuilt in a pretty, Pinterest-friendly art deco style) in search of lunch my only criteria was to eat something local. I’d already gorged on all manner of Norwegian waffles, pancakes and a simply delicious Sjokolade-Mousse-Torte (a delicious cake made of layers of syrup soaked sponge, cream mousse and frosted in its entirety on the outside in a rich chocolate mousse): now I wanted something savoury.
After much deliberation we decided that the safest bet was to head to the only restaurant that did not have its menu translated into English posted outside for passing tourists, and to simply ask to order a bowl of whatever everyone else seemed to be enjoying outside on the sunny terrace.
What everyone was eating was a regional variety of Fiskesuppe: a cream enriched, flour thickened fish soup heavy with good, big chunks of fresh local cod and Norwegian salmon, bulked out with strips of root vegetables (carrot and celeriac in this case) that were tender, but still retained a good amount of bite. With plenty of bread and Nordic butter on the side, even with all the deliciously sweet and indulgent treats I’d been enjoying, this soup was easily the best thing I ate all trip.
The good news is that while to make a good, honest version of a Norwegian Fiskeuppe you’d need to make a rich fish stock from scratch before thinking of adding anything else, I’ve found that by using a good store bought stock from the refrigerator section (you can then keep this in the freezer so you have some whenever you need it) as a base, you can have a pretty quick version of this soup ready and on the table within about 20 minutes that uses up whatever chunks of fish you may have leftover from cutting fillets or making a fish pie, along with whatever root vegetables you have lurking at the bottom of your fridge.
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