Norwegian Arctic Cod

(Gadus morhua): WILD CAUGHT

SkreiHailing from what is considered the largest and most sustainably managed stocks of codfish in the world, the Norwegian Arctic Cod lives in the Barents Sea north of the Arctic Circle. When the adult cod reach maturity, millions undertake a long winter migration back to their spawning grounds of coastal northern Norway to breed. These fish are dubbed the “Skrei®” – ancient Norse for “walk” or “stride forward”.

Although the same species as the Atlantic Cod found in New England, the Arctic Cod of Norway and Iceland are separate stocks from their American brothers. Jointly managed by Norway and Russia, Barents Sea codfish tend to differ from less migratory coastal cod in that they tend to be longer and “sharper” in the nose. Cod are known to feed indiscriminately on smaller fish and crustaceans – the Arctic Cod thrives on the plentiful capelin found in the Arctic Circle.“Skrei®” cod are the full mature adults generally of five years of age or more, and are further distinguished within the total stock as being considerably more lean than juvenile or non-spawning Arctic cod (much of their fat is stored in the liver, not in the muscles) – and is considered by many to be the best tasting.

The white flesh of cod, which separates into large flakes, is excellent when poached, baked, steamed or fried. The best fish chowders are sure to have cod as a main ingredient. Salted cod, or bacalhau, is also very popular, but not the widespread practice that it once was. But in Norway, the winter catch is not just sold as“Skrei®” whole or filleted fish: much of it is air dried on massive outdoor racks and and brought to market as “Stockfish”; or salted and sold as “Klippfish”. A traditional Norwegian recipe calls for boiling the Skrei meat, livers, and roes in salted water in separate casseroles unaccompanied by boiled potatoes.

True “Skrei®” cod is branded and bears a tag to certify it is both genuine winter catch subject to conservation methods and that it was packaged at optimal temperatures within 12 hours of capture. All Barents Sea Arctic Cod (mature“Skrei®” and “immature” codfish alike) are rated as “Sustainable” by the Marine Stewardship Council. Arctic Cod are available fresh, head off and gutted, in weights ranging from 2 to 8 Kilograms.

Catch Region: Barents Sea to Coastal Northern Norway

Seasonality: Year Round (“Skrei” is available January to April)

Catch Methods:

  • Long line
  • Hand Line (“Skrei” Winter Catch)

Yield (Fillet Percentage): 53%

Flavor Profile: Mild, sweet, clean

Texture Profile: Large, tender flakes

Substitute:

  • New England Codfish
  • Haddock
  • Hake

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