With its fish-rich waters, summer land, and greenhouse crops, the volcanic island loves simple dishes and raw products.
To fully appreciate Icelandic gastronomy, which gives pride of place to the freshness of the products, it is better to love the marine products and the lamb. They are in the spotlight in most traditional recipes, on the family table, and on the menu of restaurants. It must be said that the fish is of rare quality. Especially cod, the most consumed. But also the site, the haddock, the sea bass, the plaice … And, among those of freshwater, we find on the plates the salmon and the Arctic char, of great finesse. Sheep, on the other hand, have been fed grass and moss since the beginning of colonization. Its sweet flesh can be eaten in soup, stew, or grilled. Or even in legs, smoked with peat or sheep’s poop(hangikjöt)!
Natural resources put to good use
Icelanders prefer the simple taste of food. They love to pick up berries(blueberries, black carmine) on the moor. They also know how to take advantage of active volcanism, exploiting geothermal energy to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, peppers, strawberries, bananas… If they cannot produce wine, their beer is delicious thanks to the high quality of the water.
The essentials of Icelandic cuisine
Thorskhnakki, very fresh cod. Cod is the white gold of these cold waters, as Pierre Loti recounted in Fishermen of Iceland. Its unique quality comes from the fact that it is fished as an adult, by line, by small boats. Its pearly flesh, with a fine texture and in the shape of strips, is simply pan-fried and accompanied by small vegetables (carrots, broccoli).
Kjötsúpa, a roborative soup. It’s a must for farm dinners and on-the-go meals, as it’s found everywhere. This soup with small vegetables, potatoes, and lamb meat, evokes a little garbage béarnaise. It holds on to the body and warms. Very useful in these latitudes.
Rúgbraud, a famous bread. This rye bread is traditionally steamed in a wooden barrel, buried near a hot spring. Dense and fluffy, it has no crust. Its taste is both sweet and smoky. It goes perfectly with butter, mutton pie, or smoked salmon.
The Hákarl, the most amazing dish of the traditional festivals. It is a piece of shark meat (Greenland Camargue) pheasants. Just caught, its flesh is deadly, because it is loaded with toxins. It must therefore be buried for three months and dried in the open air so that it is consumable. Its scent resembles that of ammonia, but its taste is milder. It is accompanied by brennivin, alcohol of caraway, and angelica.
3 tips to sting Icelanders
Mix chocolate and licorice. The shelves of Icelandic supermarkets are filled with sweets combining these two tastes. Thus, caramelized chocolate bars with Persian licorice and local sea salt. We can test by putting a little licorice in our soft, cookies or chocolate creams.
Planting rhubarb. In Iceland, all locals have one foot in their garden. They make jams, compotes, and pies out of it. Some restaurants even offer rhubarb mojitos! With us too, it only takes one square meter to grow, without even having a green thumb.
Early dinner. Icelanders are used to having dinner around 6 pm. Some companies even offer their employees to eat in the canteen before going home. Why not imitate them to fully enjoy our evenings afterward?
The skyr, in Iceland, we can not do without it!
This traditional yogurt with low-fat content and a tangy taste is technically a very tender fresh cheese. It can be enjoyed plain, fragrant, or mixed with berries. At breakfast or after meals.Don’t miss interesting posts on Onnewslive