Legend of lutefisk lives on despite enduring ‘yuck’ factor

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Paul Berglund, the chef at Bachelor Farmer, hadn’t tried lutefisk until recently. He found it “not that gross.”

Michael Fitzgerald, the chef at Fika, finally learned to cook the fish in November when the institute threw its annual lutefisk dinner, serving about 400 people. He poached it with white wine and herbs, then baked it for about 20 minutes. “It didn’t turn out too bad,” he said. That’s in contrast to the traditional preparation: drop it in boiling water for about 8 minutes.

“If you overcook it, even by a minute or two, it’s going to take on a kind of unappealing jelly consistency,” Mr. Dorff said.

Mr. Berglund said he wouldn’t rule out putting lutefisk on the Bachelor Farmer menu someday. “But only if I could figure out a way to do it that would make it nearly impossible to dislike,” he said.

Mr. Dorff said his lutefisk sales drop about 5 percent every year, but he has no plans to stop making it. They still sell about half a million pounds a year.

A recent visitor asked Mr. Dorff if he really likes lutefisk.

There was a very long pause.

“Yeah, I do,” Mr. Dorff said. “It’s just one of those things. I’d prefer a piece of halibut or some crab legs. But I like it. It’s got butter on it. Butter is good.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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