At first glance, cheese and shellfish are an unlikely pair, but in fact, quite the opposite is true. Though it’s hotly debated, melty cheese can add a creamy finish to briny, fresh-from-the-sea shellfish, but stick to mild, sweeter varieties: overly salty cheeses paired with shellfish can easily overwhelm your palate. If you live near a coastal region, source some fresh shellfish in your area; if you don’t, frozen shellfish will work just as well. All of the options listed below make an impressive, out-of-the-box statement for appetizers or starters, but most can easily be translated into a full meal with the addition of a green salad and crusty bread for dipping in any leftover juices.
Mussels can be intimidating for any shellfish newbie, but adding mayonnaise and parmesan is a great way to make them more approachable. Rasamalaysia shows us how it’s done with their easy cheese-mayo baked mussels, topped with fish roe for a salty pop. The author explains:
These mussels are also called Mussels Dynamite and often served as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants or at Japanese seafood/sushi buffets. There is another similar dish called Shrimp Dynamite and I have the recipe. Every time I see these two items on the menu, I just have to pick them up and indulge myself in the creamy deliciousness.
If you prefer clams to mussels, try serving the bivalves hot with Chilean parmesan. Chilean parmesan is milder than its Italian cousin, so it won’t up the salt factor too much. Have a picky eater on your hands? Remove the clams from their shells and add them to a pizza topped with stretchy mozzarella (we promise your kids will eat it). Again, a mild cheese is what makes this pairing work.
Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have some scallops in your fridge. Use up the last of summer’s fresh produce in a beautiful scallop salad, featuring fresh greens topped with seared scallops and a Dolcelatte dressing. Scallops are known for their sweetness, so they can stand up to a stronger cheese like Dolcelatte. Working with a shellfish allergy? You can still enjoy cheese with fresh seafood: check out our smoked seafood pairings here.
Photo by Rasamalaysia