Observe how to prepare a traditional Icelandic meal of roe and liver (hrogn og lifur). At this time of year, egg pouches are harvested from female fish, mainly cod and haddock, and sold in fish stores around the country along with the liver. The egg pouches may not look appetizing; just remember that caviar is fish eggs too.
Photos and narration by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir [email protected]
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Mid-January to mid-February is roe and liver season in Iceland. Egg pouches are harvested from female fish, mainly cod and haddock, and sold in fish stores around the country along with the liver.
While the fish liver is an acquired taste—it’s very oily—it’s rich in Vitamin A and D, so it’s worth giving it a try. However, if it doesn’t taste any better after a few tries, taking a spoonful of cod liver oil every morning is just as good.
Fish roes are to more people’s liking. The bright orange fish egg pouches may not look appetizing, but before you turn them down, remember that caviar is fish eggs too, and that most people find caviar delicious.
Roe and liver is usually eaten boiled and served with boiled cod or haddock. Bring water to boil, put the roe and liver into the boiling water and let it boil at a low temperature for around ten minutes. The liver might need shorter time—it changes from white to grey when it’s ready.
Also boil some potatoes and a few slices of yellow turnip—the classic side dish to boiled fish fillets and other boiled fish dishes.
And one mustn’t forget the sweet dark rye bread. Hverabraud is the best, which is baked in a hole in the hot ground of a geothermal area. Butter each slice generously.
The fish and the liver is ready after boiling, but before eating the roe, one must peel the membrane off. Cold, sliced roe is an excellent bread topping and it also tastes delicious fried, perhaps accompanied with a fried egg and some fried potatoes.