Is there anything better than the taste of fresh seafood? Let me answer that for you: The only thing that comes close is cheese. Unfortunately, these two are widely considered star-crossed lovers. A quick Google search for “seafood and cheese pairings” brings up articles denouncing the two as partners, saying that they are not meant for each other, and that they are too different. Thankfully, I’m a romantic and couldn’t help but combine the two, despite their forbidden love. I discovered that seafood and cheese, though an unexpected couple, were really born for each other. All they need is the right environment for their love to thrive in.
Perhaps my favorite seafood and cheese pairing is the brunch staple of lox and cream cheese. Lox is a fillet of brined salmon and tastes a bit smoky, like a fresh salmon that spent some time over a campfire grill. Pairing it with a cool, light cream cheese is actually perfect! The slightly salty and smoky flavor of the salmon benefits from a mildly sweet partner like cream cheese. Green Valley Organics and Vermont Creamery make excellent cream cheese variations for this simple pairing. I have also combined lox and cream cheese with eggs benedict to astonishing results. Smear some cream cheese on thick bread or a bagel, place eggs on top of a bed of arugula, layer on lox, and realize that brunch will never be the same again.
The next method of combining cheese and seafood is close to my heart: seafood pizza. That’s right—a seafood pizza is one of the easiest ways to bring the two ingredients into harmony. After all, hot bread and melted cheese mix well with almost anything. I first discovered seafood pizza at a small Italian restaurant in my hometown called Franks Pizzeria. Franks makes a seafood pizza featuring parmesan, fontina, chopped clams, and shrimp scampi. It makes my mouth water upon first whiff. If you can’t get to New Jersey for one of my childhood favorites, culture has a recipe for Clam and Fontina that does the trick. Keep in mind that even simply pan-seared shrimp can be matched with some cut parmesan or fontina to make an amazing cheese board.
Lobster mac ’n’ cheese is probably one of the most unexpected but delicious combinations ever invented. The meaty, juicy lobster meat is a delicious surprise when plucked out of the treasure trove of golden mac ’n’ cheese shells. You can use cheddar, mascarpone, parmesan, asiago, or Havarti as we do in our own culture recipe. If you’re not up for making a full meal, you can always grate a heap of fresh cheese over a steamed lobster after cracking open the shell. Butter isn’t the only companion for lobster meat.
If you’re not a fan of the aforementioned lox but enjoy a good cooked salmon, then you’re in luck! A big salmon steak smothered in goat cheese makes a perfect dinner. Feel free to cut this into smaller portions and place it alongside the rest of your seafood pairings. There are also great recipes out there for Goat Cheese and Salmon Quiche, as well as Goat Cheese and Salmon Tortellini.
Hopefully you sea the possibilities here. Although this pairing might seem tricky, it’s easy when you combine all of the cheese pairing tips weaved throughout this Cheese+ blog series.
What did you find to be the most helpful post or cheese pairing tip in this blog series? Tell us at @culturecheese and hashtag #CultureCheesePairing to win a free issue of our special Cheese+ pairing issue!