Norwegian “Fiskegrateng”

“Fiskegrateng” is a dish my mother used to make as an everyday meal to make use of leftovers from fish. It is a casserole with fish, macaroni and Bechamelsauce. It is served with potatoes and carrots and even beetroot and topped with clearified butter or just melted butter. It could also be made with fresh fish. However it was an economical way to use all leftovers and make a new dish. Also in Norway fish is actually on the menu at least three days a week if not four. This caserole is really low budget especially if using leftover fish.

Following my mothers recipe from the restaurant kitchen it is as always large quantities. She made from both fresh fish and with already cooked fish. Now I am using fresh fish.

Her recipe is from 1957 and for 345 people. It consists of the casserole “Fiskegrateng”, vegetables and a Brown soup on the side. For the Fish Casserole the quantities are 40 l milk, 4 kg flour, 4 kg margarine, 4 kg macaroni, 120 eggs, 2 tbsp´s nutmeg, 300 g salt, 40 kg fishfilé (she suggested Polloc in this recipe). Side of vegetables, 60 kg potatotoes, 15 kg beetroots, 40 kg carrots. Melted butter: 7 kg margarine. For the side dish Brown soup 70 l buljong, 2, 1 kg lard (or margarine), 2,1 l flour, 6 kg carrots, 6 kg cabbage, 3 kg rutabaga, 2 kg celleri, 2 kg leeks, 3 l milk, salt and sugar to taste. The cost per person for all this was 0,82 NOK back then. That is about 8 US cents.

In this recipe I have recreated the menu exept the Brown soup since I didn´t have the ingredients to do that.

Ingredients for “Fiskegrateng” (Fish and Macaroni Casserole)

I calculated these quantities for about 8 servings from my mothers original.

  • 9,2 dl milk
  • 92 g margarine
  • 92 g macaroni
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 120 g fishfilé
  • 120 g carrots
  • 86 g beetroots
  • 162 g margarine
  • breadcrumbs


Boil macaroni according to package and rinse and set aside.

Boil water with a little salt in a pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering and add the fishfilés to simmer. You need to preboil the fish if you use raw fish. Otherwise the moist from the fish would ruin the caserole. If you use already boiled fish you can skip this step.

After the fish has been simmered and is cooked take it out of the water and tear it to small pieces and set aside.

Make the Bechamelsauce. Melt butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisk and start adding a little of the milk at a time. To avoid getting lumps you add a little milk and whisk until your sauce start to bubble a little again and you have whisked out all the lumps. Than add more milk repeat procedure. Whisk so you mix to a smooth consistency and thickness until all milk is in and you have no lumps.

Add the nutmeg to the sauce and whisk.

Pull the sauce off the hot oven and let it cool a bit.

Separate the eggs and add one egg yolk at a time into the sauce. Whisk because you don´t want boiled egg yolks in the sauce.

Whisk the eggwhites separate until fluffy and stiff. Carefully fold into the mix with a spatula.

Grease a ovenpan and poor the mixture in the pan.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.

Set the oven to 200 Celsius Degrees and bake for about 40 minutes, until golden.


Boil the potatoes, carrots and beetroots (if fresh beetroots)

Cut the vegetables in smaller bites before serving, or even before you boil them like I have done here. They will boil quicker. Just boil in water with a little salt.

Melted butter:

Add the butter in a saucepan and let it melt on low temperature. Leave it on the hot stove without burning but until you see it has separated and is quite clear. Sprinkle a little over your dish when serving.

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