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Cheese on seafood? Mamma mia!

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  1. The prawn in the picture is doubly tortured -- first by the impaling fork,
    but second, in the indignity of the snowy shower of cheese. A life take in vain....
    ' )

    2 Replies
    1. re: pitu

      This shot turned my stomach. I might be okay with someone sprinkling cheese on linguini and white clam sauce (not me), but anything else makes me uneasy.

      1. re: southernitalian

        I have to tell you, I gasped.
        Although the article is very funny.

        Sure there's a rare instance or two where the cheese won't over-power the delicate flavors of seafood, but not many...
        and I can in no way endorse the ruination of a perfectly good white clam sauce with such an abomination (heh)

    2. So glad you posted that - I read it and meant too. Thought it was fascinating, particularly this:

      "A call to da Fiore in Venice yielded a pennette with sea scallops, broccoli florets and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. And on and on it went in recipes both historic and contemporary: vermicelli alla Siciliana, crostata alle acciughe, not to mention dozens of seafood risottos finished off with cheese. When I pointed these out, even the most hard-line chefs started to backpedal: “Ah! But this is O.K.” As Jenkins says: “One of the great things about Italy is they love making rules. And they obey very few.”"

      1. Personally, I'm generally not a fan of cheese and seafood but to each his own. I have had linguine with clam sauce with parmesan. I found a small amount of cheese to add a nice savory element to the dish. I find having these absolute rules to be ridiculous. Thomas Keller's even got a lobster mac and cheese on his menu. If food tastes good, then it's good.

        1. The description of that scallop dish totally threw me for a loop. OTOH, it has become much more common in Italy to find shellfish dishes (such as shrimp risotto or pasta with crab or lobster in a red sauce) with some parmigiano mixed in than it used to be. In southern Italy, anchovies and cheese have always been paired together in everything from pizza to salads. The general rule is still alive and well, though, and cheese is considered off limits for the great majority of seafood dishes. Pasta with clams, mussels or any other type of mollusk? Never. Octopus or squid? No way. Any scaled fish prepared in any manner? Perish the thought.
          Personally, I can't imagine wanting to put cheese on seafood. But I have noticed some ever-so-slight relaxing of the rules over in the mother country.

            1. re: rochfood

              Yup. Anchovies on pizza, tuna melts, antipasto and McDonald's Filet-o-Fish are my exceptions to the rule.

              1. re: southernitalian

                I've had good seafood quesadillas as well. And the lobster mac 'n cheese has become common on many menus.

                1. re: Chowpatty

                  I think it must be an Italian thing. That said, I couldn't do lobster mac and cheese.

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    I'm not a big mac and cheese fan, but in the interests of exploring my culinary horizons, I had a lobster mac and cheese at a nearby restaurant, and it was truly wonderful.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      What kind of cheese did they use?

                      1. re: Jocelyn P

                        Shrimp and cheese grits and many grilled oyster recipes are instances of seafood & cheese,

                        1. re: Jocelyn P

                          Honestly - I don't know - though I'll ask next time I go ... it wasn't particularly strong - just creamy deliciousness.

              2. Growing up, parm/grated cheese on spaghetti & clams or macaroni & Aleeche = NEVER
                In fact, I can remember my sweet Nonna gasping and saying "No cheese on that!" when one of my cousins went to sprinkle some on her plate one Dec 24th....
                But no one ever said why......

                I enjoy a dish served at a little local Italian place called "Pene Pesce Pollo" - it's got Alfredo sauce, chunks of grilled white meat chicken and juicy, fat grilled shrimp. And it's goooooood.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                  Yeah- we weren't allowed to drink milk with seafood either, or we'd "get sick". Seems like it was bordering on a superstition or something...

                  With the cheese- like most things there are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If I'm at a place like Lenny's Clam Bar with the fried calamari over linguine and the hot sauce I'm not too concerned about the 'subtlety of the fish' that particular day ;) A little bit of the shaker of cheese somehow seems like the right thing to do, ya know?

                  1. re: TongoRad

                    I asked a couple of friends of mine from Torino. They laughed and asked who had told me about the cheese and seafood rule. They did say that it is taken for granted that you never ever serve seafood with cheese.

                    I guess I can understand the textural attraction of a cream sauce with lobsters, but if you have ever had truly fresh seafood, you can understand the horrors of masking the subtle fresh brininess of fresh seafood with the strong cheese flavors. You eat seafood for that subtlty and delicate taste.

                    I can see where chefs will use the cheese to mask the smells of not very fresh seafood. I guess if you got your seafood from the freezer case, cheese away, but if it is fresh seafood, keep that stuff away from me.