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Aug 11, 2010 07:59 AM

Cheese on Seafood?

I have heard chefs on TV say to never put cheese on seafood. I have seen countless recipes with cheese and I have seen chefs on TV put cheese on seafood.

So what is your opinion? Never use cheese?

If you do use cheese, are there guidelines for what kind of cheese and what kind of seafood?

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  1. I don't go by what other people say is supposed to be the "norm". Ever the experimenter, if I pair together something and it works for me, that is what I do. I like cheese with shellfish and I like to put parmesan in a breading for fish. I don't think a strong flavored cheese like a blue or sharp cheddar would work but mild flavored cheeses like parmesan, ricotta, or a queso fresco does...JMO

    1. Agree with Cheryl. The other night I did spaghetti with pesto which has cheese in it, and served it with roasted shrimp. We always heve cheese on our spags w/ clam sauce. Lobster + mac n cheese not bad. All depends what you feel like at the time. Never say never.

      1. I do recall this rule being asserted categorically by my Italian friends, but they relish categorical assertions about food, so I take the assertions with a grain of salt. But in fact, I don't put seafood and cheese together very often at all.

        I would never say never, though, because seafood and cheese are both such varied categories. We could flip the question around: does cheese in general go with all "land-animal food," ranging from insects to polar bear?

        But what would I do to experiment? A challenge to Cherylptw: would you go for seared sea scallop with blue-cheese sauce?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bada Bing

          I haven't been on this thread since I first posted on it, but as I said originally, I wouldn't pair a strong flavored cheese with seafood as it would make it difficult to taste the seafood. I would, however, add blue cheese to say, a risotto then top it with seared scallops, just not make a sauce with it or coat it in the blue cheese.

          1. re: Cherylptw

            I had some really good coquilles st-jacques a few years ago, and it was topped with sharp cheddar cheese and mashed potatoes, with several varieties of seafood (shrimp, scallops, etc) underneath.

        2. only italians have this as a rule, and even they honor it as much in the breach as in the following

          indian cooking has paneer w/ fish or shrimp, greeks make shrimp saganaki, etcetcetc

          11 Replies
          1. re: thew

            and two of my favorite dishes, Lobster Thermidor and Coquille St. Jacques.......

            1. re: Rubee

              I need to add - it's a pet peeve - that what I find silly is when someone who didn't grow up with this regional Italian tradition in their household, "adopt" it and proclaim it as some golden rule. I had a discussion with someone who referred to Marcella Hazan (who I also love), but didn't have a response when I reminded him that she has a recipe for Oysters alla Parmigiana in her "Classic Italian" cookbook.

              I'm sorry, but I'm a Chowhound and love food too much to never eat Lobster Thermidor or Oysters Rockefeller, go to Greece and not order Shrimp Saganaki, go to France and not order Coquilles St. Jacques, etc. because someone 'heard' this or 'read' that people don't do this in Italy. I know I've run across dishes with anchovies and Pecorino in a couple of my authentic Italian cookbooks (in Rome maybe?). Oh, and I love tuna melts!

              1. re: Rubee

                Go Rubee, go! I'm with you on this one. But have to say;

                Sometimes cheese like bacon is used like a crutch. Dump a lot of cheese on something to make it appealing to the masses (visions of episodes of DDD)

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Yup, or hide that old starting to turn, fish smell!!!

                2. re: Rubee

                  I'm with you on this Rubee. Speaking of recipes with seafood and cheese...I happened to see Anne Burrell's show yesterday (a re-run?) She made Linguine with Clam Sauce.. and to serve she shaved Parmigiano over top.

                3. re: Rubee

                  especially when it's Lobster Thermidor a Crevette, served with a Mornay sauce...

                  1. re: FrankD

                    served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and...............

                    1. re: sbp

                      I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. There were a bunch of Vikings in the corner chanting..

                4. re: thew

                  Well I hate to break it to you but not all Italians adhere this so-called rule. Granted there are certain pairings that need to be carefully made, but to say that we never use cheese with seafood is just plain fallacy.

                  1. re: Gio

                    yes that's why i said it was more honored in the breach.

                    (more honor'd in the breach than in the observance - hamlet)

                  2. re: thew

                    "Only italians have this as a rule, and even they honor it as much in the breach as in the following."

                    Well said, thew, and despite my Italophilia, the combo is as good in some instances as it is bad in others. A dish of mussels steamed in robiola broth is among my most memorable.

                  3. It depends a lot on the cheese and the quantity of it. Parmesan on a seafood pasta dish is not out of the question, bleu cheese would be an abomination as it is too strong for the delicate flavor of the seafood.