Saturday, 20 February 2010

Lina’s Crimes Against Food # 2 : Pastel de Jaiba

Lina and the people of Chile are serial committers of crimes against food, and they all involve fish and cheese.
I know my point of view is seen as food snobbery by a lot of people. But I just do not see the point of having the delicate flavour of fish destroyed by the heavy taste of cheese.
I know a lot of people love this combination, namely a vast majority of Chile’s 17,000,000 population are big fans of it. As it appears on nearly every menu in one form or another in Chile’s restaurants. I’ve also seen it in some high end (if you can call them that) restaurants in Medellin. People seem to love fish and cheese.
Maybe it’s me then who is mistaken, as if the majority love this dish, maybe I’m wrong. But as we live in a free speaking democratic world (supposedly) I can air my opinion and I believe in food terms I am correct and they are wrong.

Take for example Pastel de Jaiba. This is a crab dish, not so similar to a fish pie. The crab is cooked and then shredded and mixed with a white sauce before being put into a ceramic dish. Then mash is layered on top before being sprinkled with cheese and then popped under the grill or in the oven to melt and let the cheese bubble and brown a little.
Now you may think this is a yummy dish. I did actually try it, popping my spoon deep into the bottom of the dish avoiding all melted cheese as I went, but when it ended up in my mouth, all I could taste was cheese. Where was that delicious taste of the crab that would have made this dish awesome. I’ll tell you. Nowhere. It had been jumped, mugged and dragged away by the much stronger cheese. It had no chance. There was only going to be one winner, and by a knock down the cheese won.
I think people will forever argue over whether cheese and fish should go together or not. Let’s put it down to personal opinion. It doesn’t. 

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