Take your average stew. You have a plethora of hearty chopped vegetables, mix in some browned meat to extract the utmost flavor, and pair it with a flavorful broth to bring it all together in a warm, belly-filling dish. It’s a simple concept that is internationally loved, and Iceland is no different. However, what makes Iceland unique in its choice of stew is the meat.

While most stews favor a red meat such as pork or beef cuts as their protein of choice, Icelandic cuisine opts for fish – hence the “fiskur” in the name. Given that Iceland takes a distinct pride in their fishing industry, particularly how fresh their seafood is given how short of a time it takes to get from ocean to table, fish is an obvious choice for the country’s national stew. Many families take this tradition of freshness so seriously, in fact, that they’ll even catch their own fish to use for the stew.

The necessity of freshness doesn’t stop with the fish, though. Plokkfiskur also contains onion, potatoes and even boasts butter and cream. The quantities of each ingredient vary depending on who’s recipe is being followed, or if there even is a recipe being used at all, but what makes this stew Icelandic is the heavy weight put on the freshness and high quality of each ingredient used. Icelanders are known for the high pedestal that they put their fresh food on, and plokkfiskur is no different.

Speaking of recipes, plokkfiskur is a dish that really doesn’t require one. The quantities of the ingredients used can be changed freely depending on what is in stock that day, what the chef feels like having more of in his or her stew, or just even based on a family’s own tradition. It’s a stew that is not picky with its ingredients. As long as the base of the stew is hearty enough to balance out the flavor of the fresh fish, potatoes and onions it’ll all come together nicely.

Because plokkfiskur is such a staple in Icelandic tradition, it is a dish that is found readily all over the country. Families make it at home, schools serve it to the children at lunch time, and restaurants of all price ranges make their own version of it. This simple, adaptable dish is well-loved by Icelanders and travelers alike. No Icelandic menu is complete without it.

Author's Bio: 

Spice up your tongue with traditional Icelandic food and delicious Icelandic street food in Reykjavik, Iceland at 101 Reykjavik Street Food Restaurant. Also chicken noodle soup, lobster soup, beef noodle soup,lamb meat soup, vegetable noodle soup, traditional Icelandic fish stew, Icelandic fish and chips, etc...