|Living picorocos. They move in a rather sinister way.|
Given the weight of the very thick shell, the meat to shell yield on giant barnacles is very low.
Some other shellfish, however, had exceptional yield, like these mussels at the Valdivia Feria Fluvial (River Market). The large mussels are bigger than my hands and the meat totally fills them. We cooked a bunch of them in white wine and garlic. They are meaty (as expected!) and quite delicious. My husband's cousin treated us to a home-cooked favorite of pork, chicken and potatoes cooked with lots and lots of mussels. We barely made a dent in the pile of mussels. So much delicious food!
One popular shellfish we ate, but didn't get to see fresh, is the Southern King Crab, centolla. Like Alaskan King Crab, it is a huge, scary-looking crustacean. It's harvested off the coast of southern Chile. It is extremely popular in Chile and not inexpensive. However, it's not nearly as expensive as Alaskan King Crab, so be sure to eat some if you visit southern Chile. My daughter ordered a pastel de centolla (a pastel is a savory pie with a ground corn crust) in Puerto Natales, a small city near Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. It had an amazing amount of crab in it. She also had a delicious centolla lasagna in a French restaurant called La Cuisine near the waterfront in Punta Arenas. Again loaded with crab, and a wonderful dish. Chilean food is not the most interesting and we were thrilled to find delicious French-inspired food made with traditional Chilean ingredients.
|Centolla lasagne, one of the better meals we had in Chile|
|The bounty of Chilean seafood for sale at Santiago's Mercado Central. The congrio is in the back row on the left.|
Also in this photo, locos - Chilean abalone. We ate a lot of abalone. It's savory and tender if properly made, usually served with mayonnaise and lemon, maybe a bit of onion and parsley salsa. Abalone is pretty hard to find fresh in the US. Much of it seems to be imported in cans from Mexico. You can get it fresh in Chile, and also in cans. I would have brought some home, but it's illegal to export it out of Chile.
|More locos. They don't look like much but they are meaty and rich shellfish.|