The taste of Ålesund
— Max Hansen

In late August a food festival was arranged in the coastal city of Ålesund, in the west of Norway. Kristin Hove, the author of “Mellom bakkar og berg”; a book about locally produced food from all over the country, was invited for a pop-up dinner to present the best the region has to offer.

Food Studio helped out and documented the preparations – picking herbs and wild growing potatoes on the beach, they visited small producers with a burning passion for quality and made goodie-bags for the lucky guests of the evenings. The menu was set by Kasper Nikolajsen, the head chef and Max Hansen, the restaurant chef of “Måltid” restaurant in Kristiansand.

Using traditional produce such as dried cod, cured lamb, self-gathered fresh vegetables and berries from the area, and using modern cooking techniques they created a meal to remember. It was an inspiring and eye-opening meal. Rousing us to use traditional produce in untraditional ways, and introducing us to all the pure flavours that are growing in our surroundings and encouraging us to go out into the wild and forage ourselves.

The menu of the evening:

Cod jaws with smoked goat cheese and bacon rind

Marinated and cured lamb from Tind with currant jelly and beer bread

Gran Reserva Clipfish with dill

Crab with pickled cucumber and sea portulak

Pork Cheeks with beach potatoes

Currants, spruce and gooseberries with meringues
We have gathered the recipes here for you, so that you can recreate the experience on your own. All recipes are for four people, but the dishes are small and based on having several courses. Some of the recipes may seem daunting as they include some unfamiliar ingredients and techniques, but don’t let them scare you as most of the ingredients can be replaced by what you have available. Also, it is not necessary to make all of the components in a dish, or to make all of these dishes to have a wonderful meal.

Cod Jaws with smoked goat cheese and bacon rind

Following more sustainable food consumption practices by using the whole animal from nose to tail, for instance, is a step in the right direction. When you go fishing yourself, using almost the whole cod is easy. The bones make a great stock, the tongue is a traditional ingredient in everyday cooking in northern Norway, and the flesh and fillets speak for themselves. Even the liver and roe are delicious if prepared the right way.
Getting cod tongue or jaws from your local fish shop may be more challenging – but ask for it, maybe they can order it in, as this is a delicacy worth the hassle.

Smoked goat cheese cream

200g Snøfrisk (cream cheese made from goat milk)
Cross-leaved heath

Add the heath and the bark at the bottom of the oven. Light on fire, and as soon as it burns well, suffocate the fire and put on more heath. There should be a lot of smoke. Place the Snøfrisk cheese in a pan and leave in the oven with the door almost closed, so that the fire does not flare up. Smoke for 15 min.

Mix the smoked cheese to a smooth consistency, and season with salt.

Cod Jaws

8 cod jaws (can be replaced by the tongue or a small piece of fillet from cod)
200 g dried and ground pork rinds
4 eggs

Clean the cod jaws and dry them off.
Beat the eggs with a fork until the whites and yolks are blended.
Dip the cod jaws in the egg mixture and roll them in the ground pork rinds.
Fry them in oil at the temperature of 140 degrees Celsius for approximately 2 minutes, until they have a golden color.

Serve the cod jaws hot with smoked goat cheese.


Marinated and cured lamb from Tind with currant jelly and beer bread

150 g marinated and cured lamb from Tind

Cut the cured lamb into thin slices with a sharp knife.

Currant jelly

400 g fresh currants
2 ml. water
20 g sugar
3 g Agar-Agar

Boil the berries, water and sugar. Mix and strain the juice. Bring to boil again and add the Agar-Agar and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator. Let the mixture stand for 10 hours in the refrigerator. You should now have a firm gel.
Blend the gel in a blender until the consistency is smooth.

Beer bread

100 g rye bread with grains and seeds
3 dl beer from Slogen (or another kind of pilsner beer)
10 g butter

Soak the rye bread in beer for 12 hours. Add butter and season with salt.
Mix everything together and gently pour it on greased baking paper, 2-3 mm thick. Bake in the oven for 13 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, with the damper open.

For garnish

Fresh herbs like small yarrow and bird grass
Fresh currants
Vinegar powder

Rinse herbs thoroughly.

Place a slice of marinated lamb on the beer bread. Then add 3-4 small drops of red currant gel, 2 fresh red currants, a leaf of yarrow and a little bird grass. Sprinkle with vinegar powder.


Gran Reserva Clipfish with dill

Clipfish is a traditional produce in Norway. Fish, mostly cod, is salted and dried, a technique used as a way of preserving. It has for centuries been an important export for Norway, and is often used in the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian kitchen.
For this meal we’ve used a prize winning clipfish product, from the producer Dybvik. Gran Reserva is matured for minimum of two years, which gives it a slightly yellow colour, a rich taste and a tender texture. Before using clipfish it has to be diluted to rehydrate and desalinate. For this dish the clipfish is not cooked, but served as a Norwegian version of “sashimi”.

250 g Gran Reserva clipfish

Dilute the clip fish for two days in cold water. Change the water a couple of times.

Dill oil

200 g of dill
2 dl of neutral oil

Heat the oil to 60 degrees Celsius, mix it with the dill in a blender and sieve through a sift cloth.
If you are making the crab with pickled cucumbers (below) as well, triple up the recipe and you`ll also have enough for the crab sauce.

Dill “snow”

20 g dill oil
60 g maltodextrin (a carbohydrate with low sweetening power which absorbs oil)

Whisk the oil into the maltodextrin, which will transform into “snow”.

Fluffy dill sauce

120 g dill oil
60 g egg yolks
10 g white wine vinegar
10 g water

Mix egg yolks, vinegar and water over low heat. Add the oil little by little while stirring. Be careful to not add the oil to fast or heat the sauce too much, as it may become separated or coagulated.
Fill in siphon bottle, add one gas cartridge and shake well.
Keep the bottle warm until serving.

Break or cut the pre-diluted Gran Reserva into small bite sizes. Serve with the airy dill sauce, topped with the dill “snow”.


Crab with pickled cucumber and Beach Portulak

Beach portulak is a wild growing edible plant, which you can find close to the beach. It has a mild, slightly salty taste and a crispy texture, making it perfect as a garnish for the sweet taste of crab meat.

300 g raw Crab Claws

Boil water with plenty of salt.
When the water boils add crab claws and boil for 5-7 minutes.
Lift them directly from the water and place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Rinse out the crabmeat.

Crab stock

1 kg beach crabs
1 onion
1 leek
1/2 fennel
3 cloves garlic
100g celery
50g parsley

Fry the crab in the oil so that it turns red. Add water until it covers.
Bring to a boil, skim away the foam and add in the vegetables.
Let it simmer for 2 hours, sieve the stock and reduce it to a quarter.

Dill Oil

300g dill
3 cups of neutral oil

Heat the oil to 60 degrees Celsius and add the dill.

For the sauce mix 2 parts reduced crab stock and one part dill oil.


1 cucumber
100g vinegar
100g sugar
50g dill stems

Boil vinegar and sugar, and add the dill stems. Cool down in the fridge.
Cut the cucumber into slices and put them in the cold vinegar brine for at least 2 hours before serving.

For garnish

Beach portulak

Serve the crab meat with a slice of pickled cucumber and garnish with dill and beach portulak. Pour the hot crab sauce over when serving it.


Pork Cheeks with beach potatoes

Sometimes, if you`re lucky, you can find potatoes growing by the beach. These have a tender and thin skin, and a lot of flavour. For this dish, you can also use spring potatoes, or some other kind of flavourful small potato.

Pork Cheeks

4 pieces of Pork cheek

Let pork cheeks cook in water bath in the oven at 78 degrees Celsius for 10 hours.

Parsley Oil

300g parsley leaves
3 cups neutral oil

Heat the oil up to 60 degrees. Mix the oil and the parsley in a blender, and sieve through a sift cloth.

1 litre chicken stock
1 cabbage
25 g cold butter

Cut the cabbage into pieces. Reduce the chicken stock by half. Add the cabbage, and cover the pan with plastic foil and place in the refrigerator until the next day.
Sieve before use. Before serving, stir in the butter in pieces.
Wild garlic shoots

Rinse the wild garlic shoots and salt with coarse salt for 12 hours. Remove all of the salt thoroughly. Cover with cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Leave for a few days before using.

Wild garlic capers


100 g sugar
100 g clear vinegar

Heat the vinegar and the sugar until the sugar dissolves, and cool down.
Pick wild garlic flower and rinse thoroughly. Put them in the brine.


20 small potatoes
20 nasturtium leaves (also called Indian cress, can be replaced by other kinds of cress)
Parsley oil
Wild garlic capers
Wild garlic shots

Wash beach potatoes thoroughly.
Boil potatoes lightly, with plenty of lovage.
Just before serving, turn them with fine sliced fresh lovage, butter and salt.
Before serving, glaze the pig cheeks in a bit of cabbage sauce.
Sprinkle with thyme and wild garlic capers, about 7 per person.
Place pork cheeks on the plate with 5 potatoes, 5 wild garlic shoots and 5 nasturtium leaves.
Pour the sauce over the pork cheeks, and drizzle with parsley oil.


Currants, spruce and gooseberries with meringues

Italian meringue

30 g water
75g sugar
40 g glucose
50 g egg white
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat egg whites and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks begin to form. Meanwhile boil water, 75 g sugar and glucose to 117 degrees.
Pour the boiling liquid carefully into the fluffy egg mass, while beating vigorously.


Blackcurrant meringue

100 g Italian meringue
20 g ground, dried blackcurrants

Whisk together and spread on silicone sheets. Bake in the oven at 65 degrees for 12 hours.
Strawberry meringue

100 g Italian meringue
20 g ground, dried strawberries

Whisk together and spread on silicone sheets. Bake in the oven at 65 degrees for 12 hours.


”Kage” cream

2.5 dl whole milk
60 g sugar
125 g eggyolk
20 g maizena (corn flour)
8 gelatin sheets

Boil up the milk. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Mix maizena and sugar in a bowl and stir in the egg yolks. Add the milk while stirring and pour the mix back into the saucepan. Set over medium heat while you whisk until it starts to thicken. Whisk thoroughly until cream is thick. Strain the water from the gelatin and stir into the cream.
Leave to cool in fridge.

Blackcurrant cream

100 g Blackcurrants
100 g “kage” cream
25 g powdered sugar
0.6 ml. cream

Mix the cream smooth with powdered sugar. Add berries and mix well. Blend in cream.
Spruce granita

100 g spruce shoots
1 liter of good apple juice on green apples (for example Filipa)

Mix apple juice and spruce into a nice green liquid in a blender. Sieve fluid through a sift cloth.
Put in freezer and stir regularly until completely frozen. This is important since the spruce “juice” will separate and lie at the bottom.

When completely frozen, use a fork to make fine “snow”.

For garnish

Fresh blackcurrant
Fresh redcurrant
Fresh red gooseberries
Fresh raspberries

Plate the berries, blackcurrant cream, meringues and chervil.
Just before serving add the spruce granite.


Photos: Christoffer Johannesen 

Text: Francisca Witsø