Perhaps you seen them hanging side by side on clotheslines around town, or maybe you've noticed their aroma, or even dared a taste; in the spring, the old tradition of drying fish outdoors is kept alive in Hvide Sande. Of course a taste of this salty delicacy is a must!
What are Dried Dabs?
Dried dabs, also called 'bakskuld', are flatfish, most often Common Dabs, which are placed in a salt brine and then hung on clotheslines outdoors to dry in the salty western winds. The salty winds by the North Sea are what make this type of fish preservation possible. Further inland, the fish become too fresh. The dried dabs are enjoyed cold, fried, roasted, or boiled; with chive gravy.
A West Jutland Spring Classic
In the old days, a stockpile of dabs was a life necessity when times were tough on the Danish west coast. During winter when the sea was often in uproar, making it impossible to fish, a major part of the meals in the small homes consisted of these dried fish which are rich in protein; they were often served boiled and sometimes even straight from the clothesline. According to the locals in Hvide Sande, the kids in Hvide Sande chewed dabs as if it was candy.
Hung Out to Dry on Ships’ Sails
As a supplement to the often meagre ships-food dried dabs used to be a festive food out to sea. The dried dabs were dried on the sails and were edible only a few days later. Today, not everybody embraces the idea of dried fish, but if you happen to be in Hvide Sande in the spring, don't cheat yourself out of trying this tasty local delicacy; they are said to be perfect with a cold beer.