Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Who in the world would want to eat that? I'm glad you asked. Stokvis is quite popular in a variety of cultures: northern countries such as Norway and Sweden, southern regions like Portugal and Spain, and ofcourse Holland, or the Netherlands are all countries that regularly integrate the delicate flavor of this dried-up finny food into their daily meals.
Stokvis is hard to find in the United States but the salted bacalao, known in Dutch as klipvis, available in the seafood department of larger grocery stores, will do just fine for this purpose: the only difference between one and the other is that bacalao has been salted extensively and the skin, tail and bones have been already removed. Soaking and refreshing the water becomes even more important in this case.
Stokvis is traditionally served on New Year's Day in various provinces, like Friesland and Zeeland. Steamed white rice, boiled potatoes, fried onions, a lick of mustard and warm creamy buttersauce are side dishes to the fish. It doesn't sound like much, and the color combination is terrible (white, yellow, brown, yellow and beige....not appetizing!) but once you mix the buttersauce in with the rice, mashing the potatoes and mixing in the onions, it all of a sudden becomes a very honest, almost heartwarming meal and most certainly worth the effort.
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 onion, peeled and sliced
Fry the onion slices in one tablespoon of butter until golden. Set aside. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan but do not brown. When it's warm, add half a cup of water, bring back up to temperature. Add the cornstarch to a little bit of water, mix and stir into the warm sauce. Stir until it thickens and makes a nice creamy sauce.
When all is done, place a piece of fish on a plate and surround it with rice and potatoes. Pour the warm buttersauce over the rice and potatoes, add some fried onions on top and sprinkle some white pepper to taste. Add some mustard if you wish and enjoy your meal!