What are the most delicious Icelandic recipes? What ingredients and methods of cooking are popular in Iceland? How can you recreate the best Icelandic dishes? Read on and acquaint yourself with seven top recipes from Iceland.
Iceland is becoming an ever more popular destination for foodies. The restaurant culture in Reykjavík is thriving, with Michelin star restaurants, world-renowned chefs, and creative recipes. While the rest of the world has heavily influenced many of the dishes served today, many have remained the same for generations.
Considering the lack of ingredients in Iceland, with the land being barren and infertile, Icelanders have always had to get creative when it comes to cooking. With just fish, meat, dairy, root vegetables and some herbs and berries, however, they managed to create a cuisine that still brings delight to the taste buds.
While many of the oldest recipes include a lot of boiled ingredients, they will largely be overlooked on this list; instead, it will look to the baked, fried and sweet options that will be a delight to any who try them.
Iceland has always been a nation of fishermen, so the most diverse dishes from the country are undoubtedly those with seafood. While fish is prepared and served in a wide variety of ways, perhaps the most palatable to people from all backgrounds is when it is baked in the national tradition.
1 tablespoon butter
6 fish fillets or 6 cod fish fillets
salt, pepper to taste
200 g Emmenthaler cheese or 200 g Tilsiter cheese, grated
1 tablespoon mustard
1 cup cream
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
Butter a baking dish.
Put the fillets into the baking dish.
Season the fillets with salt, pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Cover the fish with grated cheese.
Mix mustard with cream and pour it over fish fillets.
Cover with breadcrumbs.
Bake the fillets for 35 minutes.
Serve with rice or noodles or mashed potatoes
Icelandic Caramelised Potatoes
An absolutely delicious side-dish, Icelandic caramelised potatoes compliment any roast meal. Traditionally, it is considered a particularly delightful addition to a shoulder of lamb and purple cabbage.
3 medium potatoes
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
Wash and scrub the potatoes removing any dirt, eyes, etc. Cut each in half, then cut each half into chunks.
Bring a quart of water to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and place the potatoes in the pot. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender (able to poke a fork in it) but not mushy like you're making mashed potatoes.
Drain all the water off the potatoes, let them sit in the colander for about 5 minutes to dry out.
Place the sugar on a frying pan and heat it up until it gets all melty. Stir in the butter or margarine when this happens.
When this mixture reaches a rich golden colour, remove from the heat and carefully roll the potato pieces in it to fully coat them each in the caramel sauce.
Icelandic Cocoa Soup
This Icelandic dessert is so delicious, that it is very often served as a main course. A particular favourite amongst kids, it's easy to make and always greatly appreciated.
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups of water
3 cups of milk
1 tablespoon potato starch or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt, to taste
Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan.
Add the water gradually and stir until smooth.
Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the milk, reheat to boiling point and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Mix the potato starch or cornstarch with a little cold water, stir into soup and remove from heat.
Salt to taste and serve.
Otherwise known as the 'Icelandic Fish Pie' or 'Icelandic Fish Stew', this is one of the oldest and most traditional dishes on this list. While the most historical of Iceland's food tends to be the least appealing, this one is quite the exception.
Add flaked fish & stir briskly to break up the fish flakes completely. Season liberally w/salt & pepper.
Add potatoes & stir gently. Cook over low heat until heated through.
Spoon into 4 bowls & sprinkle each serving with 1/2 tbsp chives. Serve hot w/dark rye bread & butter.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons
A real Icelandic favourite, the whole family will be asking for these over and over again. The directions for this one can be adjusted to personal taste; why not add honey or chocolate rather than the traditional jam and cream?
3 cups Flour
3 cups Milk
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Essence of Cardamom
Beat eggs and milk together, add dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Leave to settle for 30 minutes.
Melt and add margarine. Heat a small frying pan and grease the pan lightly.
Pour enough batter to coat the pan thinly. When one side is done, turn the pancake over with a palette knife and fry the other side.
Grease frying pan often.
Pancakes are usually stacked as they are fried and white sugar sprinkled liberally on each one.
They can be rolled up individually, with a little added white sugar on each one. Then, if you like, strawberry jam can be spread on the Pancakes, with a dollop of whipped cream in the middle. Fold over twice, and enjoy.
Skyr Crème Brûlée
Skyr is a delicious national cheese, with the consistency of yoghurt. Though it comes in many flavours, pure Skyr can be used to make a delightful Créme Brulée, to put an Icelandic twist on a French classic.
100 g cream
100 g pure Skyr
40 g egg yolk
40 g sugar
80 g white chocolate
The juice of 1/2 lime
1 vanilla pod
Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and put in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and add the Skyr.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add to the warm skyr mixture.
Stir together the egg yolk and sugar and add to the skyr mixture along with the lime juice. Put into crème brulée ramekins and bake in a water bath at 120 °C for 30 minutes. Cool.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar and melt the sugar with a crème brulée torch.