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Fish + Cheese


Elissa
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I don't have any problem with that.

My sole point was that the dish was from the bay area, not Liguria.

as to the comment about NY Italian restaurants...I think that completely misunderstood the NY dining scene.

In NY, just like anywhere else in the U.S., I generally dislike "Italian" restaurants that are run by 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation immigrants. The food is inevitably quite a bit different than anything served in Italy. There's nothing wrong with that of course...but I just happen to not actually like it.

Italian restaurants in NYC today, except for some tourist traps, usually have native Italians as chefs. Most of these restaurants are regional in nature and the regions represented are from all over Italy.

Very few of them are southern Italian.

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Back to the cheese-with-fish debate...

I think the rule has a lot to do with the Italian philosophy of preparing simple dishes around a single theme. A pungent cheese and an oily fish are both too assertive and confrontational to allow a solo theme to come through when they're put in the same dish. In another context, another culinary tradition, a Stilton and mackerel pâté might be interesting, but I don't expect to see it on a menu in Italy.

Also, "cheese" is a catch-all category. I'd hesitate to sprinkle parmigiano on a plate of spaghetti con le vongole , but a fresh mozzarella might play a very nice supporting role to the salty, hammy flavor of a giant prawn.

Of course, rules are made to be broken. The foodwriter Fred Plotkin describes a meal in Venice where he ate spaghetti with a sauce of clams and cheese (I assume a hard grated cheese). And just try keeping me away from a white clam pizza in New Haven.

Edited by StevenC (log)
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  • 11 years later...

TIme got away from us today and all my fridge and pantry yielded for lunch was locally smoked salmon (hot smoked with wood) and goat cheese.  Accompanied by cornichons, sliced hard-boiled egg, black olive/thyme bread and  diced red onion.  

 

At first I was reluctant to plate the cheese with the fish, but hunger overcame my hesitancy.  

 

We both liked the cold plate very much and since I never served cheese with fish before, I was wondering if there are other pairings you have tried and liked.  

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My mom would "trick" us kids into eating fish (usually a mild white fish) by broiling it in the oven, and then slathering it with salsa and heaping a large mound of cheddar cheese on top of each filet. She'd stick it back into the oven until the cheese melted.

We enjoyed it. I guess you could say it was a kind of fish nachos. O.o

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Mostly I am not fond of fish and cheese together. Smoked fish is a bit different, as in the above mentioned lox and cream cheese. I will never turn that down; I was weaned on it. I was recently at a lunch where a smoked trout was served alongside another platter with a manchego, but they were eaten separately, not paired; both were very good, but together it would have been a salt lick. A classic example of fish and cheese would be a tuna melt, no? I used to find that unappealing, but have to admit that if I make it myself I really enjoy it. 

 

Other seafood like shrimp and lobster might be more forgiving. Lobster mac n cheese seems to be big these days. I frequent a Mexican place that serves a great crispy shrimp taco which has some melted cheese down at the fold. In Italian food I'm not so keen; I never liked shrimp / cheese risotto, and don't like grated cheese on a dish of shrimp and pasta. Clams Casino has always seemed like a terrible idea. I grew up in a household definitely biased against New England clam chowder in favor of Manhattan style. When it comes to clams, it must be a dairy-free zone. 

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 Coquilles Saint Jacques. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Here's a more specific question. 

 

I get really good fresh large shrimp here, peeled and deveined by the local pescatoria.  

 

I often serve them to guests as 'grilled and chilled' which allows me to make-ahead.  I either do a dry rub (Cajunesque but of my own making) or slather with a jarred chimmichurri sauce before hitting the grill.  

 

Would any cheese "go" with cold shrimp  that is nearly naked?  

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4 minutes ago, gulfporter said:

Would any cheese "go" with cold shrimp  that is nearly naked?  

You asked. No!   But I’ve been wrong before.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Looking for cold plates for summer. 

 

Thinking cold grilled shrimp with dill seasoning may work with feta???

 

I may do some experimenting. 

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20 minutes ago, gulfporter said:

Looking for cold plates for summer. 

 

Thinking cold grilled shrimp with dill seasoning may work with feta???

 

I may do some experimenting. 

 Greek Saganaki.  But it’s not cold I don’t think.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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2 hours ago, gulfporter said:

Looking for cold plates for summer. 

 

Thinking cold grilled shrimp with dill seasoning may work with feta???

 

I may do some experimenting. 

It would work for me, especially with a bit of cucumber or tomato worked in their somewhere. YMMV (as may your guests').

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18 minutes ago, chromedome said:

It would work for me, especially with a bit of cucumber or tomato worked in their somewhere. YMMV (as may your guests').

 

 

Yes I think a sort of Middle Eastern mezze table with "Israeli salad", olives, fresh cheeses,  good bread, pickly things, and fresh cheeses could be a lovely leisurely summer meal incorporating herby grilled shrimp. Along the lines of what member Shain often posts.

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  • 4 years later...

I think that "fish and ..." depends entirely on the quality and variety of the fish.    I prefer FRESH fish and shellfish lightly handled and seasoned.   Butter and a kiss of lemon are seldom out of order, gentle herbs perhaps.   But heavier sauces seem to me better left to meats, poultry and fish of lesser or dubious quality.   

 

So, if your fish or shellfish have seen better days, a dose of morel and vin jaune sauce or Bearnaise or Newburg might help out.   Otherwise...

eGullet member #80.

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"Shellfish-of-some-type au gratin" is fairly common, at least along the east coast. Pierre Franey, a New Yorker (by way of Yonne, France), and from whom I learned as much about cooking as anyone, even had a recipe in one of his New York Times columns for crabmeat au gratin. In the 1960s, it was known to be a favorite of the Duchess of Windsor.


I'll note with amusement his recommendation that it be served accompanied by rice with mushrooms and pistachios.

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Eat more chicken skin.

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One of my husband’s favourite dishes was Baked Crab and Gouda Cheese Pots. This was a Better Homes & Gardens recipe that I ran across and it became one of his favourites. (It was challenging because I am deathly allergic to crab.) I subbed lobster or shrimp for myself. It was very much like individual cheese fondues, but with seafood included in the fondue.  The dippers were pear slices, and/or marbled, rye bread. I guess nobody had warned me about seafood and cheese.
 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I find topping fish fillets with shredded cheese and baking (~170c) is a very good way of keeping the fish moist. The cheese needs to be fairly mild (cheddar?)so it does not overpower the fish itself

If its baked till the cheese crisps up and forms a skin, it is usually a good indicator that the fish will be cooked.

Ideally i would do it with butter but it just runs off. Combining butter with bread crumbs works  ok bu it is a bit finicky to get the ratio right and even so it doesn't end up thick and hard in one spot and dry and crumbly.

I have made a white sauce with lots of cheese to make a fish mornay, but again the cheese needs to be mild.

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59 minutes ago, Anna N said:

One of my husband’s favourite dishes was Baked Crab and Gouda Cheese Pots. This was a Better Homes & Gardens recipe that I ran across and it became one of his favourites. (It was challenging because I am deathly allergic to crab.) I subbed lobster or shrimp for myself. It was very much like individual cheese fondues, but with seafood included in the fondue.  The dippers were pear slices, and/or marbled, rye bread. I guess nobody had warned me about seafood and cheese.
 

 

This speaks to my point above.    We live in Dungenous crab country.    Boiled live crab + homemade mayo with kiss of Coleman's mustard powder is the classic treatment.   Of course you can douse it with Louis sauce, but when it is fresh and good, leave it alone and taste nature's  magic.

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eGullet member #80.

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I saw on Master Chef the Professionals or maybe some other British source that there was some rule that you can't mix fish and cheese together - a very big no no. 

 

I thought it was because cheese comes from rot and mold and fish is about absolute freshness. That's why the rule was there. 
 

Edited by eugenep (log)
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