Salmon is certainly one of the dishes you have to eat when you visit Norway – but it has to be wild salmon! Wild salmon is caught in rivers by local fishermen. Every year a number of fishing licences are ‘lotto-ed’ out to the local fishermen in each area around Norway – the fishing restrictions ensure a good season for next year. (Norwegians love salmon so much that if there were no restrictions wild salmon would be extinct by now!)
In Alta, licence-free fishing ends Midsummer’s Eve so it is a tradition for all the locals (who haven’t won the licence lotto) to try their luck one more time before the clock strikes 12 midnight. (After that, they turn into pumpkins!)
As Farfar’s farm is by a salmon river we see a lot of people standing on the rocks for hours, even days, fishing. Some actually camp out on the bank. Because the farm is so close we get a lot of locals dropping round to sell the catches of the day. Farfar can never resist and always buys the biggest one for a family dinner that night.
It can be mighty tough for the salmon to jump up the river with lots of fishermen flapping their lines about. So to make fishing a fair game for the Salmon the Fishing federation has created a detour in the river for the fish. Instead of having to jump up a raging waterfall they now have this ‘ladder’ to make their trip a little easier.
As a fisherman you might be thinking ‘Oh, boy, come to Pappa!’ but there is a ‘catch’:
Fishing Prohibition Zone
All fishing is prohibited in the prohibition zone.
The zone stretches 50 metres above and below the salmon ladder. It is forbidden to fish and to trespass inside the area around the salmon ladder.
Illegal fishing is reported to…
Norway certainly looks after its natural food resources – not only for fame and fortune – Norwegian salmon is famous all over the world (the Japanese love it in their sushi!) – but for heritage and a strange sort of ‘fish’ romanticism. Even though salmon for dinner is as common as common can get, this fish on the plate will always get an old farmer giddy as a kid.
The typical way Norwegians eat their salmon is oven baked with dill and lemon, mustard or just salt and pepper. The fish is eaten with a side of boiled new potatoes, a dollop of sour cream and a cucumber salad (which is just sliced cucumber and vinegar). To keep the fish from drying out it is best to loosely wrap it in foil when putting it in the oven. If you are grilling the fish it is best to leave the foil open so you don’t boil it. Some Norwegians like to marinade the fish with a splash of beer before grilling – like a beer-bath.
The other ways Norwegians cook salmon is to boil it, soup it, or smoke it. However, they always leave the skin on the fish when cooking because all the good fat will draw into the flesh for extra taste. One of the reasons why Norwegians are so healthy is because they aren’t afraid to eat fish fat which is the good Omega-3 oil.
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