A Scandinavian specialty made with unsalted dried cod. The age-old preparation method is to soak the dried cod in regularly changed cold water for a period of eight days. The cod is then soaked for two days in a mixture of water and potash lye, after which it's soaked for two more days in fresh water. (Thankfully, for fans of this dish, ready-to-cook lutefisk is commercially available.) The final step is simmering the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, just until it becomes translucent. Just before serving, lutefisk is sprinkled with allspice, salt and white pepper. It's accompanied with béchamel and, typically, boiled potatoes.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.