This is one of the great dishes of Norway, though it's barely known outside of Scandinavia.
4 pounds bones, heads, and trimmings of cod or other non-fatty fish
1 pound leeks, washed and chopped
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 pound parsnips, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley with stems
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 pound potatoes, diced
2 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
minced parsley for garnish
1 pound skinned and boned cod
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
a large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1. Place the fish bones, heads, and trimmings in a large stockpot. Add 3 quarts of water, leeks, the 1/2 pound of chopped parsnips, celery, the 1/2 cup of parsley, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, skim off foam, then simmer until reduced to 8 cups of liquid. Keep removing foam as it develops on the surface.
2. When stock is reduced, strain through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Add the potatoes, the carrots, and the remaining 1/4 pound of parsnips. Simmer until the vegetables are just cooked.
3. While the vegetables are simmering, make the fish dumplings. Place the cod, egg whites, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Purée well. With the motor running, add the heavy cream in a thin stream. Remove purée, and push it through a fine sieve. Add the white pepper, nutmeg, and additional salt if necessary. Pick up a heaping tablespoon or so with a spoon, and drop into a wide pot of salted, simmering water. Repeat, until all the mixture is used up. You should have about 32 dumplings. Cook them for two minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
4. When ready to serve soup, beat the egg yolks and créme fräiche in a large bowl. Beat the fish soup into the egg-and-cream mixture, slowly at first so as not to curdle the eggs. When it's entirely beaten in, return the soup to the pot and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. (Make sure that it does not come near a boil.)
5. To serve, divide the soup among 8 wide soup bowls, float 4 dumplings in each one, and sprinkle all with the minced parsley.
This is one of the great dishes of Norway, though it's barely known outside of Scandinavia. In the beautiful city of Bergen, gateway to the western fjords, restaurant owners and home cooks select coalfish every morning at the open-air fish market to prepare this velvety soup. In classic Norwegian style, it is thickened with eggs and cream, but with no flour. Coalfish is not available in America, but cod—also a Norwegian favorite—makes a good substitute. Serves 8 Recommended wine: Riesling