From the big fishing villages to the small remote islands that line Norway’s coast, there is a rare energy that can be felt among the locals. It’s a connection to the sea and its rich heritage, which Norwegians have carried throughout generations. Chef Ming Tsai experiences that heritage firsthand, when he pays a visit to Bocuse d’Or champion Chef Ørjan Johannessen at his family’s inn in Bekkjarvik, Norway.
Chef Ming joins Chef Ørjan and his father in the kitchen where they’re preparing their family’s recipe for Pickled Herring. While simple, the recipe is a perfect representation of Scandinavian cuisine—traditional preservation techniques that highlight the flavor and quality of the local fish. This town was built on herring. Like cod, herring has also played a strong role in Norway’s history and continues to be a staple of the Nordic diet.
“For me, the Norwegian water is fantastic. It’s so cold, so clear, so deep and so dark. The seafood is amazing.” —Chef Ørjan
Local seafood is the source of inspiration for many of Norway’s award-winning chefs, including Chef Ørjan, who devoted more than ten thousand hours to achieve the Bocuse d’Or Gold medal, which he earned in 2015. Chef Ørjan is clearly passionate about cooking and continues to hone his craft at his family’s inn, Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri, where he works in the kitchen alongside his twin brother, Arnt.
Today, Chef Ørjan is sharing his love of Norwegian seafood with Chef Ming and preparing one of his favorite fish, Norwegian Fjord Trout, along with one of his favorite cocktails, Lime Cilantro Cucumber Gin and Tonic with a Lime Plum Foam.
“Norwegian Fjord Trout is one of the best fish in the world. It’s farmed in the right way. And at four to five kilos, it’s the perfect size for a restaurant kitchen.” —Chef Ørjan
Fjord Trout, also known as Steelhead Trout in the U.S., have a marbled deep-red flesh similar to salmon, and a clean, rich flavor. The fish is packed with nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, protein and Vitamin D. They’re farm-raised in Norway’s natural fjords—where fresh water meets seawater—creating a distinctive, pure flavor and making it safe to consume raw. If cooking the trout, it should be cooked at a lower temperature to gain optimal flavor, texture and color.
The chefs decide to showcase the trout with two raw preparations:
- Chef Ming’s Fjord Trout Sashimi on Lime Cucumber Salad, Crispy Rice and Crème Fraîche Egg Sauce
- Chef Ørjan’s Fjord Trout Tartare with Soya Pearls and Blue Mussel Broth
The Fjord Trout is such an exquisite fish that it was chosen as the official seafoodat the2003 Bocuse d’Or finale in Lyon and the 2015 Bocuse d’Or Team USA National Selection Event.
Not only is it regarded highly in the culinary world, but also it is often seen as the foundation of modern aquaculture. The success story of Norwegian fish farming started with fjord trout. The pioneering work established by the first fjord trout farmers was crucial for the development of the aquaculture industry as we know it today.