San Geraldo’s Balls / Las Bolas de San Geraldo

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

SAN GERALDO’S MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS CAME from Norway, his grandfather from the north and his grandmother from the south. SG grew up with a strong connection to those Norwegian roots, primarily through the food.

His aunt gave him a Norwegian wall calendar in the late ’80s. One month, food was the theme. It opened with the statement: Norwegian food, usually a shade of white, is simply a conveyance for something that tastes better. I don’t completely agree with that. Some of the best and most beautiful meals I’ve ever had have been in Norway, but I do understand where the writer was coming from. Last night’s dinner was a good example.

Fish balls (fiskeboller) are off-white lumps (OK dumplings) often served in an off-white sauce. San Geraldo’s family swore by Spirit of Norway brand fish balls. Their large balls were tinned without sauce. SG made his own sauce (of course white).

San Geraldo recently had a craving and found fish balls in a local Scandinavian gourmet shop. The fish balls were from Sweden (where they’re called fiskbullar) by a company named Abba (no relation to the singing group). They were tinned in a dill sauce, so SG didn’t even have to mix anything up. They were much smaller than San Geraldo’s substantial Norwegian balls, but they were tasty. The dill sauce, although slightly salty for us, was excellent.

San Geraldo also bought a box of lefsa, which we haven’t yet gotten into. It’s a traditional soft flatbread, made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. It’s also off-white, of course, and delicious when topped with butter and sugar — things that taste better. (But, I’ll admit, I love the taste of lefsa.)

Some day I’ll tell you about San Geraldo’s family recipe for raspekomler (raspeboller), which are flour and potato dumplings cooked in the broth from ham bones and served with butter or white Karo (corn or glucose) syrup. It looks like off-white, dried out Play Doh — and has the same consistency. For me, butter makes it better.


LOS ABUELOS MATERNOS DE SAN Geraldo vinieron de Noruega, su abuelo del norte y su abuela del sur. SG creció con una fuerte conexión con esas raíces noruegas, principalmente a través de la comida.

Su tía le regaló un calendario de pared noruego a finales de los 80. Un mes, la comida fue el tema. Comenzó con la declaración: la comida noruega, generalmente de un tono blanco, es simplemente un medio de transporte para algo que sabe mejor. No estoy completamente de acuerdo con eso. Algunas de las mejores y más hermosas comidas que he tenido han sido en Noruega, pero entiendo de dónde venía el escritor. La cena de anoche fue un buen ejemplo.

Las bolas de pescado (fiskeboller) son grumos de color blanquecino (bolas de masa bien hechas) que a menudo se sirven en una salsa blanquecina. La familia de San Geraldo juró por las bolas de pescado de la marca Spirit of Norway. Sus grandes bolas estaban enlatadas sin salsa. SG hizo su propia salsa (por supuesto, blanca).

San Geraldo recientemente tuvo un antojo y encontró bolas de pescado en una tienda gourmet escandinava local. Las bolas de pescado eran de Suecia (donde se llaman fiskbullar) por una compañía llamada Abba (sin relación con el grupo de canto). Estaban enlatados en salsa de eneldo, por lo que SG ni siquiera tuvo que mezclar nada. Eran mucho más pequeños que los sustanciales bolas noruegos de San Geraldo, pero sabrosos. La salsa de eneldo, aunque ligeramente salada para nosotros, era excelente.

San Geraldo también compró una caja de lefsa, a la que todavía no nos hemos metido. Es un pan plano suave tradicional, hecho con patatas, harina, mantequilla y leche o nata. También es blanquecino, por supuesto, y delicioso cuando se cubre con mantequilla y azúcar — cosas que saben mejor. (Pero, lo admito, me encanta el sabor de la lefsa).

Algún día os contaré la receta familiar de San Geraldo de raspekomler (raspeboller), que son bolas de harina y patata cocidas en el caldo de huesos de jamón, y servidas con mantequilla o jarabe blanco de Karo (maíz o glucosa). Parece Play Doh blanquecino y seco, y tiene la misma consistencia. Para mí, la mantequilla lo hace mejor.

Kauppa, the Scandinavian gourmet shop owned by two Spanish brothers. A very friendly place.
Kauppa, la tienda gourmet escandinava propiedad de dos hermanos españoles. Un lugar muy amigable.
We started with some color — Caprese salad.
Empezamos con algo de color — ensalada Caprese.
Fish balls and potatoes in a white dill sauce, with broccoli for color.
Bolas de pescado y patatas en salsa de eneldo blanco, con brócoli para darle color.
We ended with toadskin melon — for it’s shade-of-white interior.
Terminamos con melón de piel de sapo, por su interior de color blanco.

Play Doh. Or is it raspekomler?

Play Doh. ¿O es raspekomler?


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “San Geraldo’s Balls / Las Bolas de San Geraldo”

  1. What type of fish is used to make these balls? I would assume any white fish would do?
    And that Caprese salad looks doable……hm-m-m. Thanks.

    1. Jim,
      I think cod is the standard for fish balls but other white fish are also used. SG loves caprese salad. His was excellent.

  2. I love lefse! Lived in Minnesota (dontcha know) for a few years…my ex’s grandparents were Swedish and Norwegian (had 13 children/lived on a farm). Could almost guarantee that someone would make lefse for family get-togethers. Lefse–when freshly made and eaten straight off the griddle is sublime–a smear of butter, a sprinkle of sugar–roll it up. Uff-da! Yum. I even used to have my own lefse stick–a long, skinny flat piece of wood, usually decorated with a traditional Scandinavian design on the handle, that would slide under the lefse so you could turn it to cook on the other side without using harsh tools that might rip it. Haven’t made it in over 40 years.

    Of course, then there is lutefisk (definition; a Scandinavian dish prepared by soaking dried cod in lye to tenderize it, then skinning, boning, and boiling the fish to a gelatinous consistency). Gag.

    1. Mary,
      MinnesOHta. SG never tried to make lease himself, nor did anyone in his family. Even our southern Norwegian gourmet cousins, who make verything, buy their lefse. You’d impress to them. That description of lutefisk is perfect. I had it once in Bergen, Norway. SG ordered it and I ate about half. I had a taste. Blech! Blech! It lived up to its reputation!

  3. OHHHHHHHHH ABBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’s about time Anne Marie suffer, since I have to suffer through all those pictures you feature of people wearing those hideous crocs!!!! But FISHBALLS? YUCK. I bet she’ll love this song, bwahahahahahaha

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      The fish balls were good. SG had the leftovers for lunch. Can’t believe Anne Marie refused to listen to my music!

  4. Another misleading post title. I fall for it every time! 🙂 I think, no I know, that I would prefer Anne Marie’s balls over SG’s.

    1. Deedles,
      I don’t know what was misleading about the title. San Geraldo’s Fish Balls was too wordy. I will not tell you my preference. It would only get me in trouble.

  5. D & M must have been smacking their lips once they got a whiff of those fiskeboller. I hope they enjoyed them – sauce-less, naturally.

    I’ve heard ABBA sing in various languages before, but never in Spanish as far as I can recall. Is there no END to their talent? Apparently not. (Anne-Marie would LOVE this!) Glad that the video kept back the sight of any ghastly kids.

    1. Raybeard,
      I was stunned to find so many of their songs in Spanish. They recorded 15 and performed more I think. They apparently performed not only in English, but in Spanish, Swedish (well duh), French, and German, too. Amazing.

    1. Wilma,
      I love your final line! Yes they sure were! SG’s cousin served us fish balls in Bergen and they were exceptional. Lutefisk? None for me thanks. Once was enough.

  6. Those fish balls look like gnocchi. Probably don’t taste that way, though. Thank goodness for the broccoli — texture! (And color!)

    1. Steve,
      Definitely nothing like gnocchi. I love gnocchi. These fish balls really were surprisingly good. Firm. Not mushy. Not fishy smelling or tasting. SG got his fix. Now when will he open that box of lefse?

    1. David:
      They’re fun for a change of pace and you can imagine yourself in Norway while you enjoy them.

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