Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Piure: the world's strangest seafood?
I've spent the last 10 days in Chile - hence the lack of recent posts. Most of my time was spent visiting wineries but I also found time to visit the Central Market in Santiago which I remembered from my last visit sports some of the weirdest seafood I've ever come across.
This coral-like substance is called Piure. I've been looking for more information about it but it basically tastes something like a sea-urchin though much less delicate in flavour. They extract the flesh then serve it with onions and a good squeeze of lemon, both necessary to disguise the slightly bitter, soapy taste. A good Pisco Sour - Chile's national cocktail - also helps it go down!
There are other unfamiliar fish: pink clams called machas which the contestants in the World's Best Sommelier contest had to match with red wine (almost impossible) . . .
Congrio or conger eel which is a popular basis for the very tasty Chilean seafood stews . . .
Some very spooky octopus . . .
And abalone, a much prized Chilean speciality, shown here boiled with mayonnaise
Oh, and a tip if you go to the market. It's a bit of a tourist trap so don't bother eating in the restaurants. There are much better ones elsewhere in Santiago.