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Chilean Salsa Mariscal for Shellfish

Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the cuisine of our continent, I have yet to visit all of the 3.79 million square miles the Americas encompass. So I have a rather large library of cookbooks, from Uruguay, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Mexico, and points in between. One of my favorite cookbooks is the Chilean Kitchen by Ruth Van Waerebeek-Gonzalez. The author has lovely stories about remote, rural areas of Chile, and describes their dishes in a way that is both fascinating and deliciously charming.

Lingering over this wonderful book, I came across a description of mariscal, a shellfish mélange served with a very special type of relish. A specialty of small, Chilean coastal villages, mariscal can take many different forms. The shellfish can be cooked, or raw, and the mixed green vegetables of the mariscal relish can either be served as a sauce, or served underneath the shellfish as a bed.

Van Waerebeek-Gonzalez describes how fresh seaweed is included in the mariscal presentation, both as an ingredient and a garnish. However, I have adapted her recipe for use here in the States, where fresh seaweed is in short supply.

The author also suggests that you can make a delicious shellfish salad, by tossing the sauce together with bits of cooked shellfish and allowing the mixture to marinate in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. Mussels, scallops, and clams would all benefit from a bit of a fresh mariscal type sauce. We tried mariscal over boiled shrimp and were very impressed!

I am always so grateful to find these little gems of recipes tucked away in my Latin American cookbook library. Our continent is a big place and I will always love reading what other food aficionados have discovered and recorded.

Chilean Salsa Mariscal for Shellfish

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/3 cup finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 scallion, finely minced
  • 1 whole fresh jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely minced
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

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