This Chilean dish is from the Island of Chiloé in southern Chile. It is usually made with fresh or frozen salmon, but other fish may also be used. The important thing is to include the sausage, cheese, tomatoes, oregano and lime.
Since Chile is primarily Catholic, many people refrain from eating meat during Lent, especially during Easter Week. Even though the brothers and sisters from the Pentecostal Church of Chile do not necessarily eat fish or other seafood for religious reasons during Holy Week, they greatly enjoy all the culinary traditions of their country!
A note on frozen salmon: I am sure that most everybody can find frozen salmon from Chile in their supermarkets in the United States, but I have to admit I am a bit torn about sharing this delicious recipe with you because of the devastating environmental effects of the fisheries in southern Chile. Nineteen years ago, when I first visited the fjords around Chiloé and further south, there were only two or three salmon farms. Most fish exported from Chile was “free range,” caught in open waters. Today, the coastline is dotted with hundreds of salmon farms, a sign of the highly lucrative business of processing fish and shipping it around the world.
The salmon is farmed in extremely crowded conditions so that large volumes of excess feed and waste can be seen floating in the water. Medications and pesticides are pumped into the water which then pollutes the surrounding ecosystem. Ships that supply the farms and the generators of the feeding machines cause acoustic contamination that threatens marine mammals in the closed in fjords and channels.
On the one hand, I want you to savor a taste of Chile, but on the other, I wish it were possible for you to find “free range” frozen salmon caught by a local fisherman! I guess that these are the kinds of dilemmas we face constantly in this ever shrinking globalized world.
- One fillet of salmon with the skin removed
- 3 sausages (of your favorite kind!)
- 3 tomatoes
- 120 grams of white cheese (select one that melts easily in the oven)
- 1 lime
- Salt and pepper
How to prepare the salmon “cancato”.
- Cut the tomato, cheese and the sausage into slices
- Cut the salmon fillet into individual portions, rub with lime juice, and powder with salt and pepper.
- Cover each portion first with the tomato slices, then the sausage slices, and finally the cheese.
- Bake in the oven on medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices.
- Serve immediately