Norwegian Prinsefisk (Prince Fish)

There is one recipe in my mothers recipe book from 1957 that made me really curious. The name of the dish is “Prinsefisk” which means Prince Fish. I tried to find out where the name came from and found a fascinating story.

In 1957 this recipe was 101 years old. Now this recipe is 164 years old anno 2020. It is considered a festive dish from Bergen, in Norway these days. The dish came about because of a real prince. Sweden and Norway was in Union for a long time. Oscar I was king of Sweden and Norway in the 1800. In 1856, he appointed his 30-year-old son, Crown Prince Carl, Vice King of Norway. The Crown Prince therefore moved with his wife and daughter to Christiania (Oslo today), and carried out the same summer – without his wife and daughter – a kind of “get to know each other in Norway” trip. It took place mostly with the steamship “Vidar” around the coast to Trondheim, and from there overland back to Christiania. The trip started at the end of June and lasted until the turn of the month August / September.  On parts of the trip, they also accompanied the Dutch Crown Prince, Wilhelm of Orange, 18 years old, who was on his own steamship on a Norwegian trip. Where appropriate, the two crown princes were together, but Carl was the main character, since his journey was of a more official nature. On July 22, 1856, Bergen had a magnificent visit by these two Crown Princes; the Swedish Carl Ludvig Eugène Bernadotte and the Dutch Crown Prince Willem Hendrik Nicolaas Alexander Carel van Oranje-Nassau. At Holdts Hotell, they were served Princefish. Some story say the Prince had asked for cod and since they were a large party the Hotel wouldn´t risk anything so they invented this dish, Prinsefisk.

I see that nowadays the dish is served with Asparus. However I believe this is a modernization of the dish since the first growing of Aspargus in Norway started 1956. So my mothers recipe has traditional Norwegian vegetables in it. And I feel this is probably closer to what would have been used in 1856. I tried to find a historic recipe older than my mothers but have not succeeded in this.

My mothers menu this day was for 304 people and it was Prinsefisk as the main dish and Kale Soup with egghalves as a side dish. The price 1, 56 NOK ( about 17 cents).

My mothers original recipe for 304 people

Prinsefisk (Prince Fish)

  • 70 kg of cod
  • 3 kg of green peas
  • 4 kg of green beans
  • 4 kg leeks
  • 15 kg of carrots
  • 15 kg of cauliflower
  • 3 kg Macaroni uncooked
  • 5 kg shrimp

Celery green

Sauce

  • 40 l milk and shrimp broth
  • 2, 4 kg of flour
  • 2, 4 kg of margarine
  • Salt

60 kg of potatoes

Grønnkålsuppe (Kale soup)

  • 70 l broth
  • 2, 1 kg of flour
  • 2, 1 kg of margarine
  • 4 kg kale
  • 4 l milk
  • Salt
  • Sugar

101 Hard-boiled eggs

My adjusted recipe (about 4 servings)

Prinsefisk (Prince Fish)

  • 138 g of cod
  • 60 g green peas
  • 79 g green beans
  • 79 g leeks
  • 300 g carrots
  • 300 g cauliflower (I didn´t have cauliflowers today so I omitted that)
  • 60 g Macaroni uncooked (I also didn´t have macaroni so I omitted that)
  • 99 g shrimp
  • Celery green

Sauce

  • 8 dl milk and shrimpbroth
  • 47 g flour
  • 47 g margarine
  • Salt

1 184 g potatoes

Grønnkålsuppe (Kale soup)

  • 14 dl broth (Could be from vegetables or meat. My mothers was meatbroth)
  • 41 g flour
  • 41 g margarine
  • 79 g kale
  • 8 dl milk
  • Salt
  • Sugar

3 Hard-boiled eggs

Instructions:

Prepare potatoes

Peel the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in salted water.

Prepare vegetables

Peel and chop the carrots. Chop the leeks. (Chop decorative pieces since you want it nice when plating). Boil the vegetables in salted water or steam them like I did.

Peel the shrimps

Peel the shrimps and save the peelings to cook broth for the sauce.

Prepare sauce

Add some water in a saucepan and boil the shrimppeals to make shrimpbroth. Pour through a sift to get the broth.

In another saucepan melt butter, add the flour and whisk. Add the milk a little at the time. Add shrimpbroth as much as you want for the perfect taste. Add salt to your taste.

Prepare fish

Fill water in a saucepan and add salt. Heat to boiling and reduce temperature to simmer.

Add the cod in pieces and let them simmer without boiling for about 5 minutes.

Prepare Soup

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk. Add broth and milk a little at the time while whisking to get all lumps out.

Add the Kale. I had frozen Kale so it is finely chopped. If you have fresh Kale you might want to chop it finely. Nowadays we blend soups, but I am sure they didn´t do that in 1957. So I didn´t do that.

Salt and sugar to taste. The soup has a lean taste. Add milk or broth until the thickness you want.

Hardboil the eggs since you are going to cut them I halves or “boats” and add in the soup when serving.

Plating and serving

Plating Prinsefisk you lay out the fish on a serving plate. Add the vegetables nicely and decorative on the plate around the fish. You can add the potatoes as well nicely cut like I did, or you could serve it on the side. I plated all with the fish. Add some shrimps. Pour sauce all over the plated dish. Decorate with more of the shrimps and the greens.

The Prinsefisk could be a sole dish but since I recreate my mothers menu this day I also have the Kale Soup. To serve the soup put it in a nice Soup bowl and decorate with some green. If the bowl is not too deap you can place the egg halves in the soup, or you serve them on the side to add to the individual soup bowl.

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