Although the Carretera Austral is characterized by majestic mountains and secluded forests, the Pacific is not far away, as it is everywhere else in Chile. Of course, this proximity to the sea has impacted the Patagonian cuisine. A typical fish dish in this region is cancato, which in the language of the Mapuche Indians, Mapudungun, means something like ‘fried meat’. Interestingly, in the Quechua language, spoken in the Andes highlands of Bolivia and Peru several thousand kilometres away, the term has the same meaning.
Cancato originated in Puerto Montt and is prepared with salmon or the very popular – in Chile – reineta (a kind of flounder) on the grill or in the oven. For a real cancato, fish are to be stuffed with the following ingredients: tomato, onion, cheese, and most importantly longaniza (a Spanish sausage), then seasoned with salt and pepper and accompanied by a nice glass of white wine. Culinary connoisseurs especially enjoy this dish with the cosy crackle coming from the fireplace of a remote farmhouse in southern Chile.
Try this simple yet delicious dish yourself!
Here is the recipe:
Cut tomatoes and longaniza into pieces. Season fish with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Place the sliced tomatoes and longaniza between the fish slices and cook in the oven or on the grill. Serve immediately. Buen provecho!