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Faroe Islands: Cod head with Garnatálg – Traditional Faroese dinner

by Sanne
 Cod head with Garnatálg - Traditional Faroese dinner

On our last night in Svínoy, Polle’s mother decided to cook cod heads with garnatálg. She had bought the fish heads from a fisherman in Klaksvík, and they were huge, with gigantic eyes that kept staring at me.

The cod heads are first boiled for an hour and then served with potatoes and garnatálg which is a clear sauce made from fermented sheep tallow (fat from the skin and from around the intestines of the sheep).

Garnatálg is made a while after slaughtering the sheep, as the tallow from the skin must hang for a while to ferment properly, before it can be used. Polle’s brother had prepared garnatálg a while ago, so all we needed to do was to get a small brick of garnatálg from the freezer and heat it in a pan. Good garnatálg is characterized by being an almost clear sauce, and Polle’s brother is known for his excellent garnatálg cooking skills.

The sauce has a sharp taste very similar to the taste of skerpikjøt, and delicious eaten with potatoes. The cod heads were also tasty, and the white meat from the jaws was so tender it just fell off the bones.

In the Faroe Islands, potatoes are often served boiled but not peeled, so each person peel the potatoes they intend to eat at the table. Polle’s mom grows potatoes in her garden in front of the house, and the soil at Svínoy must be particularly good for potatoes, because the potatoes in Polle’s mom’s garden are always amazing. Some of them have a slightly red color (they are the best), with a firm texture and a delicious flavor. Maybe Polle’s mom should start exporting potatoes?

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