“The cachopo was never in the tradition of Asturias”: the controversial debate on a successful dish

I was eating this week in one of the best restaurants in the West of Asturias, Vicente House, in Castropol, with beautiful views of the Eo estuary. A veteran house that, over the years, has earned a deserved reputation for the quality of its fish. In the letter and in the recommendations of the day an overwhelming offer: viceroy, sole, grouper, sea ​​bass, sea bream, mullet, san martiño, hake, monkfish … While enjoying in good company some of them, preceded by a good spider crab and some delicious fried squid, I looked at what they ate in the rest of the spacious dining room, completely full. Observing what happens at other tables is professional deformation. It helps me to know how a restaurant room works, regardless of the more or less privileged treatment that they can give me if they recognize me.

More than half of the customers were being served that enormous fillet stuffed with cheese and ham that in Asturias they call cachopo and that is nothing more than what we always knew as san jacobo.

I was sad that in a place with such excellent fish, difficult to find elsewhere, many people opted for this meat without interest that overnight has become the “star” dish of Asturian cuisine or, to be more precise, of what some consider Asturian cuisine.

It is not the first time that I deal with this topic. As an Asturian it is something that outrages me. Because the cachopo was never in the tradition of the Principality, ask the grandmothers and they will verify it. In the guides of the 80s the first references appear but in a timid and minority way.

It is true that it sells very well, after all with a cachopo two or three people eat for very little money, and that there are many clients who demand it. I respect it. But it never ceases to cause me sadness that in a region with a cuisine as varied as it is excellent, peas cuisine, the first thing many visitors ask is where they can eat cachopo.

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