If you’re looking for heart-healthy, low-fat vegetarian fare, don’t have dinner at the Seattle home of Capt. Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern on Discovery Channel’s Tuesday crab-fishing reality show, “Deadliest Catch.”
If you’re a fan of fish, crab and steak, however, this son of Norwegian immigrants might just be the dinner host for you.
But Hansen does most of his cooking on dry land.
“The only time you have to cook on the boat,” he tells Zap2it, “is if somebody complains about the cooking. ‘He’s the cook.’ So that’s how you get chosen.”
As for some of his favorite dishes, he names kumla, Swedish-Norwegian potato dumplings made with ham stock, russet potatoes, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cut-up bacon.
“It’s just a potato ball,” Hansen says. “Back in the day, they didn’t have a lot of meat. So, after a time, it became more of a meal with sausage or lamb or beef or whatever you could get. But they always have potatoes.”
And of course, for the patriarch of a fishing clan, there’s fish. “We like fish,” he says, “a lot of salted or dried fish. You have to soak the fish for a day, so the texture’s a little tougher, but it’s still really good. I like cod. That’s basically the mainstay. My father-in-law will send over a lot of smoked cod.” Hansen says he likes his cod “with potatoes, vegetables and a white gravy.”
He might even be found in front of a backyard grill. “When the sun comes out in Seattle,” he says, “which isn’t that often, there’s a lot of steaks on the barbecue, grilled steak mostly. I don’t do clams; it’s like prawns, steak; scallops are good.”
Hansen’s wife, June, taught him how to make Norwegian riba (or ribbe), made from pork belly with the bone in. “The outer lard,” says Hansen, “they leave that on, and when you bake that, it becomes like a real heavy crust. It’s really good. When the skin is almost broiled, it becomes this crust, and it’s really good. Lard and fat in there, it’s good.”
So, is Norwegian food healthy? Hansen laughs and says, “Absolutely not.”