Fish & Cheese Together? Why YES!

Let’s talk for a minute about the unlikely combination of seafood and cheese. My first introduction, the Filet-O-Fish, left me scarred in college. GROSS! Who puts cheese on fish! After one bite I tossed the sandwich and declared fish and cheese an unkosher combination.

Like many things in life, time and experience, can and do, change opinions. Since that unfortunate fast food incident, two pivotal dishes helped me jump bravely into an ocean of possibility. One where fresh seafood swims happily alongside cheese.

The first, Baked Greek Shrimp with Feta and Tomato, at the ever famous pilar of Greek Seafood, Taverna Kyclades in Astoria Brooklyn. I was too shocked by the savory, salty, Shrimp and Feta revelation that day to snap a pic, drat! Luckily the fine folks at Serious Eats were more disciplined than me and included a photo of this very dish in a post about long wait times at Taverna Kyclades. In other words, Shrimp baked with Tomatoes, Peppers and Feta is that good!

Greek-style shrimp at Taverna Kyclades. [Photograph: Garret Ziegler]
Greek-style shrimp at Taverna Kyclades. [Photograph: Garret Ziegler] found on Serious Eats
The second dish, came while I was in Bruges on vacation.  A trip where I went from laughing at lost-in-translations moments like: “Cock’s Fresh”

Cock's Fresh Truck in Bruges
Cock’s Fresh Truck in Bruges

to diving into a Beer friendly cuisine that proves fish and cheese can get along swimmingly. Enter, Baked Cod with a Beer Cheese sauce… and a layer of melted cheese on top.

Cheese and Cod Bake With Beer Sauce
Cheese and Cod Bake With Beer Sauce

Say WHAT! My eyes were now officially open.

There is both a long tradition of rules against combining Fish and Cheese in countries like Italy and for it in countries like Greece and France. The Smithsonian explored this “dishparity” to date the best I’ve seen.

In the end, the only rule I care about is that successful dishes balance flavors.

American Cuisine is still being defined. Right now, it is youthful, curious and daring. We’re not to proud to borrow from influences, pantries, fields and chefs from around the world. We turn not only to our Mothers but to TV Chefs, Food Bloggers and Friends to find inspiration.

It’s a brave new world and I love cooking in it. If I find a dish where I balance my experimental bravery with ingredients from around the world, I say that’s American cuisine at its best.

Long preface aside, if you feel like giving Seafood and Cheese a try at home, start with an easy cheese. 

Go for a younger cheese, one that has not yet had the chance to develop it’s own complex flavor over time. Complex flavors that might fight, rather than compliment your fish. Try one with a salty profile and a little bite in texture like a Feta, Cotija or Brigante.

I would also recommend starting with a fish or shellfish dish you can bake. One that would be lovely without any cheese but you know… just slightly more devilish when covered with a little naughty melted cheesy goodness. From here, with just these two starting points, your chances of elevating a baked seafood dish from yum to OMG are pretty damn good.

Baked Shrimp With Hungarian Wax Peppers and Cotjia

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients: Exact amounts totally up to you. Recommend 6 shrimp per person and one pepper as a starting point.

  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon Zest + Juice
  • Shrimp
  • Tomato
  • Cotija/Feta Cheese
  • Hungarian Peppers

Directions:

  1. Mix Shrimp, Hungarian Peppers and Tomato, portions each to your liking, with Basil, Olive Oil, Lemon zest/juice and Salt & Pepper.

    Prep for Baked Shrimp with Hungarian Peppers
    Prep for Baked Shrimp with Hungarian Peppers
  2. Bake at 350° until shrimp are just cooked through. Now you could stop here, it would be divine right! But…

    Half Baked
    Half Baked
  3. Top with cheese (in this case Cotija but Feta would be stupendous!) and pop back into the oven until melty and toasted.

Fully Baked
Fully Baked

Serve alone for a light tapas style dish, or with crusty toasted bread rubbed with Garlic for a heartier dish.

It’s a simple dish, healthy home cooking at its easiest. Plus it’s an easy starting point, to bringing fish and cheese together at home.

Baked Shrimp With Hungarian Peppers
Baked Shrimp With Hungarian Peppers

More Food Stories: Beet Haters This Ones For You, Homemade Gnocchi a Recipe of Love, Unserved Dishes Around the World, Recipe in Development Part 1

 

Advertisements

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Rice N Dine says:

    This sounds amazing! I’ve always thought that cheese and seafood go together since my mom used to make baked mussels with so much cheese on top but this is the first time that I saw shrimp with cheese and it’s just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this recipe! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’ve got a recipe for you Mom’s mussels… I’d LOVE to try that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rice N Dine says:

        I’ll let you know once I get hold of that! Have a happy Wednesday! 🙂

        Like

  2. I have an issue with cooked tomatoes and fish, not the cheese and fish combo. Your recipe looks so good that I’m thinking I could add fresh tomatoes right before serving and thus avoid the mushiness of cooked tomatoes. Or, perhaps I could use sun-dried tomatoes. Love the addition of cheese. And, the recipe you listed with the beer cheese sauce – yum-o! Always looking for ways to make fish palatable 😉 Found your blog through the Kindness Challenge. Enjoy the weekend! http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com

    Like

    1. A funny story with tomatoes and fish, baked. On our 4th date, my now Husband Bello, baked cod with olive oil, tomato and basil and it was fall over good! It was his Mom’s recipe… It’s also the last time he cooked ( 5 years ago last week.) If the tomatoes are good, fresh and plump it works, if they are out of season and have little flavor, I can see what your concerns are with texture. In which case sun-dried tomatoes would absolutely ROCK! I’ve actually done that too and it’s really brilliant. Yeah Kindness Challenge!

      Like

Have a question, thought or comments, share here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s