Ocean-Farmed Norwegian Salmon: A Taste of Norway’s Seafaring Tradition

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Recently I was offered the exciting opportunity to taste authentic, Norwegian, salmon from Norway of the best kind. I am a huge fan of salmon and was curious to taste this particular variation because of the Norway’s world-renowned aquaculture which allows them to provide the finest quality ocean-farmed salmon available.

The purpose of the campaign is to help spread the word and education seafood lovers about Norwegian Salmon and about the seafaring cultural in Norway, as well as to provide information to those seeking quality and authenticity in the food they purchase and serve their families.

One of the things that I learned almost immediately was the passion and commitment with which the salmon I was about to try was harvested – passion and commitment to the salmon craftsmenship and also pride in the history, cultural traditions and natural resources available to those who have passed on the tradition from generation to generation.

Salmon Farm 1.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

The salmon I was about to receive was harvested in Nova Sea, Lovund, Norway. Owner Aino Olaisen speaks passionately about her life in Lovund and growing up in an island on Norway’s ragged coast dotted with steep mountains rising from the Norwegian sea, Aino Olaisen’s childhood memories are deeply connected to the seafaring traditions that continue to sustain this small fishing village of just 423 residents.

Aino Olaisen.jpeg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Aino Olaisen

Coastal Norwegian Village.jpeg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Growing up in Lovund, an island on Norway’s coast dotted with steep mountains rising from the Norwegian sea. Her childhood memories are deeply connected to the seafaring traditions that continue to sustain this small fishing village of just 423 residents.

Nova Sea AS is 35-year-old salmon farming company started by her father Steinar in 1972 and Aino takes great pride in carrying on her family’s business and devotion to providing the freshest salmon available through the basic principles of integrity, honesty and unsurpassed quality. In fact, the farmers in Lovund provide more than 425 million meals every year for the global salmon market directly from their cold, clear coastal waters.

Salmon Farm 2.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Salmon Farm 3.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

“It’s amazing to be able to every day play an important part in people’s lives,” explains Aino. “Food is such a basic, simple part of people’s survival but at the same time, it’s indispensable. That’s why we take so much pride in providing the highest quality salmon to add taste and enjoyment to the lives of the people who eat it.”

When asked why Americans should choose Norwegian salmon, Aino says simply, “Norway has a long history of harvesting from the ocean and the Norwegian culture is strongly connected to the sea. Our salmon is healthy, delicious and produced in safe environments with complete traceability. Plus, Norwegian salmon contains important marine proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that are so important for the human body. That’s why Norwegians are so healthy.”

In fact, salmon is a regular part of her family’s diet, according to Aino. “We eat salmon for dinner at least once a week, and we often enjoy smoked salmon for breakfast and lunch,” she says. “My favorite way to serve it is to oven bake a salmon fillet in aluminum foil after sprinkling it with soy sauce, herbs, fresh chili, fresh ginger and a few drops of freshly squeezed lime. My family loves it served with fresh vegetables.”

I wasn’t sure how I was going to cook the salmon when it arrived, and was delighted when I was asked to try the traditional Norwegian recipe of Gravlax. Never having made or even tasted Gravlax before I was a bit nervous, but at the same time excited to give it a try.

When the salmon arrived it was huge! About 2 pounds worth and absolutely gorgeous. The color and texture of the fish was perfect and really just beautiful. I couldn’t wait to get started!

1_ Gravlax Preperation.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Part of the process of a Gravlax recipe is the curing and it is best when this is done for 3-4 days. I added the herbs as indicated and would delicately flip the salmon daily as instructed. On the fourth day, I proceeded to make the sauce and after only one failed attempt, I managed to serve an attractive and delicious dish. I wasn’t sure if my children would like it, but they did!

With every bite I could definitely taste the quality of the fish, as well as the difference in it being ocean-farmed.

The Farming Process

This salmon is slowly grown as nature intended- in the cold clear Norwegian waters. Ocean-farmed salmon are tended to with meticulous attention until they are mature enough to go to market. The fish spend approximately the first year of their life in the safety of a hatchery tank on land until they are large and strong enough for life at sea.

The salmon are then carefully transferred to spacious, protected ocean pens that allow maximum freedom to grow. To prevent overcrowding, Norwegian law requires that salmon make up less than 2.5 percent of an aquaculture facility’s volume. That means each spacious facility is made up of 97.5 percent water to allow for maximum comfort and a healthy life/growth.

Every aspect of the salmon’s development is closely monitored by technologically advanced systems that feed information to the farmers and their veterinarians, including when the salmon are full so the feeding device can be shut down. And, when it comes to feeding, Norway’s fisherman know exactly what salmon need to grow strong and healthy.

There is a possibility that I may travel to Norway to see first-hand what the farming process is like. It would be a great opportunity to better describe and share with you what I learn about the farmers, the business, and why Norway is such an ideal place for it all.

Gravlax Recipe

I suppose after all this, you’d like to know what the recipe is. Well, I am happy to pass along. The dish is rich and perfect for a dinner party or gathering with family and friends. My children absolutely love salmon, so getting them to try it was not hard to do, and I was really happy to see they enjoyed the dish so much as well. But enough of that, here’s the recipe so you can also give it a try:

Norwegian Gravlax Recipe

No Norwegian lunch would be complete without one of Norway’s most distinctive dishes, gravlax. The name literally means “Grave-Salmon” and refers to the medieval practice of curing the raw fish by burying it in the sand above the high tide level.

Today gravlax is cured with sugar, salt and fresh dill to produce a fresh, delicate flavor that is traditionally eaten on open-faced sandwiches or with stewed potatoes.


1 approx 2-lb salmon fillet, skin on

3 tbsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp coarsely ground pepper

1 bunch dill, coarsely chopped

3_ Gravlax Preperation.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Gravlax sauce:

4 egg yolks

½ tsp salt

½ cup vegetable oil or mild olive oil

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

½ tsp white pepper

1 tbsp mustard

2-3 tbsp finely chopped dill

Trim salmon fillets. Scrape the skin well and remove all bones (if any).

Blend salt, sugar and pepper. Sprinkle half of the salt mixture in the bottom of a roasting pan, then sprinkle half of the dill over and place the fillet in the pan skin side down.

Press the remaining salt mixture and dill on the flesh side of the fillet, using light pressure.

Put fish in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Turn it every day. Scrape seasoning and dill from the fillets before serving.

Add salt to the egg yolks and stir until it reaches a thick consistency. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking quickly until the sauce is a consistency similar to mayonnaise.

2_ Gravlax Preperation sauce.jpg (10 documents, 10 total pages)

Stir sugar, vinegar, pepper and mustard into the sauce. Just before use add the dill. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Cut the salmon into thin slices and serve with gravy, stewed potatoes or bread and salad.

My kids loved it!

My final masterpiece!

About the Norwegian Seafood Export Council

Founded in 1991 by the Ministry of Fisheries, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC) builds awareness of and educates the public on seafood from Norway. From the headquarters in Tromso, Norway and a U.S. branch in Boston, Mass., the NSEC carries out Norwegian seafood promotional, media, marketing and public relations campaigns and is a resource for market information in more than 20 different markets. Its entire efforts are financed by the Norwegian seafood industry itself. As the world’s second largest exporter of seafood, Norway provides quality, nutrient rich seafood to over 150 different countries, and is the world’s largest joint marketer of seafood. For more information on the NSEC visit www.seafoodfromnorway.com.

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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2 Responses to Ocean-Farmed Norwegian Salmon: A Taste of Norway’s Seafaring Tradition

  1. I love salmon and I love Norway (visited there once). I will have to try out this recipe!

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