17 Spanish chefs compete to create the best Icelandic cod recipe

Iceland is much more than spectacular settings in Game of Thrones.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 April 2024 Wednesday 10:24
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17 Spanish chefs compete to create the best Icelandic cod recipe

Iceland is much more than spectacular settings in Game of Thrones. It's wild land, raging ocean and, of course, cod. It is so deeply rooted in the culture of that fascinating Scandinavian island that the phrase 'life is cod', taken from a famous Icelandic literary work, perfectly defines the symbiosis between its people and this fish.

This town descended from the ancient Vikings has a long tradition of fishing with hooks, a technique that is passed down from generation to generation. After a first treatment on board the ship to preserve all the freshness until reaching port, salting and curing comes in the factory. This way they ensure that this oily fish retains all the juiciness of its meat, its mild flavor and all its nutritional properties, above all, high-quality proteins and omega fatty acids. Because it is not just another food, but its authentic hallmark and one of the economic, cultural and gastronomic pillars of that Nordic country.

Although part of the catch is destined for domestic tables, another goes for export. Cod is very popular in Mediterranean countries, but, above all, it is very popular in our country. 40% of the production is exported to Spain, especially during Lent.

To explore new recipes and take the creativity of new gastronomic talents to the extreme, Cod of Iceland organizes the Cod of Iceland Cooking School Competition (CECBI) every year. In its third edition, this 2024 the contest traveled to Extremadura and had the record participation of 17 Spanish hospitality schools. A succulent competition under the watchful eye and ready palates of a jury of food critics and journalists chaired by Extremaduran chef Toño Pérez, from the Atrio restaurant, with three Michelin Stars. The prize for the winner, as it could not be otherwise, is a 5-day trip to Iceland with the winners from Italy and Portugal.

With only three editions, this contest has become a benchmark with a high participation of hospitality schools. The winning recipes combine popular Spanish recipes and Scandinavian innovation. In its first edition, the award went to Alba Gonzáles from Malaga with her Gazpachuelo de Bacalao. Last year, the award went to Extremadura with Diego Antonio Chavero Rosa and his Mid afternoon in Málaga, a dish inspired by a typical Extremadura floreta, but made with Icelandic cod.

This year the winner was Marta Oti Silvestre, from the Escola Superior d’Hostelería de Barcelona (ESHOB), with the plate History and memory. A culinary creation with 7 surprising preparations: a base of apple compote, confit leek and lemon, a stew of Icelandic cod tripe and ajoarriero-style Iberian ham, Icelandic cod kokotxa al pil-pil, glaze of cod trimmings Iceland and txacolí, Maresme peas, gilda tartar and a crunchy Icelandic cod tripe.