Chef Ming Tsai Discovers New Ingredients from the Sea to Pair with Norwegian Cod

Chef Ming Tsai tours Norway’s coast as part of Season 14 of his award-winning PBS series, SIMPLY MING. In part one of this four-part series, Chef Ming heads to Stavanger to learn about the rich heritage behind Norway’s national fish, meet local farmers and cook with award-winning Norwegian Chef Gunnar Hvarnes.

Seafood is a way of life in Norway. For thousands of years, Norwegians have lived off the land, foraging for fresh ingredients from both the sea and coastline. They have always looked to the ocean as an essential source of food. In fact, it was the rich fishing waters that brought the first settlers to the Norwegian coast 11,000 years ago.

While Norway’s cold, clear waters are home to many different fish, Chef Ming Tsai soon discovers that no other species of fish has been praised and made into legend as much as cod. Known for its clean flavor and flaky texture, cod continues to be one of the most popular fish in the country.

“Norwegian Cod is so tasty and easy to work with … it’s easy to see how it can become the star of the dish.” —Chef Ming Tsai

Ming arrives on Brimse Island to spend the day with Chef Gunnar Hvarnes, 2011 Bocuse d’Or Bronze Medal winner. Before heading to the kitchen, the chefs make a few stops to pick up fresh ingredients to pair with their cod.

The first stop takes them to the sea, where Frode Ljosdal, a local farmer and forager, shows them how to harvest sea lettuce and sea asparagus. Next, they pick up some fresh herbs and head to the kitchen at the Kronen Gaard Hotel in Sandnes.

It’s time to cook! But first a drink. Ming decides to mix up a locally inspired cocktail—Martini of the Sea—a blend of high-quality vodka, aquavit and briny sea asparagus in place of olives. Skål!

In the kitchen, the chefs are showcasing two preparations of Norwegian Cod.

Both dishes demonstrate the versatility of Norwegian Cod. Known as Norway’s “white gold,” Norwegian Cod has a bright white color, delicate clean flavor and firm, flaky texture. The wild-caught fish is available year-round and carefully managed as part of the world’s largest cod stock. The cold winter months bring the arrival of Skrei—premium cod in its prime.