Grilled Cuttle Fish – Chocos Grelhados

This traditional Portuguese way of preparing cuttle fish is common throughout the coast. Deceivingly simple, it’s a recipe that requires some skill in preparing the cuttlefish, cleaning them and keeping the ink to enrich an olive oil and garlic sauce. Why can’t we get them clean from the fish shop you may ask? It’s something you have to go through yourself to understand (and most fishmongers don’t like doing it and they won’t be subtle telling you how much they don’t like it). There are plenty of videos online on how to prepare the cuttle fish for grilling so I won’t go into this.

8 medium sized cuttle fish (with ink)
1 onion
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of chopped coriander
1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
course sea salt
serves four

  1. Once the cuttle fish are clean open them in half, keeping the tentacles. Although you can grill them whole it is easier to do this flat on the griddle. Sprinkle with sea salt. Keep the ink to the side.
  2. Grill on hot grid (charcoal preferably), make sure tentacles are well grilled and crispy.
  3. While the cuttle fish is cooking make the dressing. Warm up the olive oil with the garlic to infuse then mix in the ink. Serve with the coriander and lemon. Great with boiled baby potatoes and some greens.

Bacalhau

If you know anything about Portuguese cuisine you will know that bacalhau (salted cod) is an obsession. We believe there are thousands of ways of preparing this delicious cured fish which is as close as one can get to a national dish. Here, we combine the flavourful bacalhau with a sweet roast celeriac puree and stewed leek and seaweed mix. This recipe uses the sous vide technique to highlight bacalhau’s soft and creamy texture. We prepare this recipe using the Anova but it will work with any sous vide machinery. Picture show an (optional) foam made of mussel juice and soy lecithin.

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Baked Fish/Peixe no Forno

Sometimes you go to the market and a large fish is just saying ‘take me’! It’s hard to resist a good size, fresh local fish which you know will be just perfect for your dinner party! As always look out for signs of freshness (avoid dull eyes, go for bright red gills and a firm touch of the flesh). This is a simple recipe involving little work and is a great change from a meat-based roast.  It features all staple Portuguese ‘temperos’ with bay leave, garlic, white wine and ‘colorau’ giving the fish a unique taste. Thanks for the Quasars for allowing me to cook this at their wonderful home in Montreal and asking for the recipe!!!
Rosanamar

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Octopus Tartare/Tartaro de Polvo

Octopus is a real Portuguese favourite. The two traditional ways of preparing this versatile and delicious mollusc are in a flavourful rice or grilled with olive oil and garlic. In any case the octopus is always boiled before any further preparation. Frozen octopus is much more reliable than fresh, in terms of ensuring the meat is tender. There are a number of methods (and myths) for boiling. Our favourite one at the moment is to boil strait from frozen for about 1 hour for a 1.5-2 kg octopus. This gives it an intense red colour and helps concentrate the taste. This tartare recipe is great for leftovers and makes a delicious starter.

Octopus Tartare

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Sardines with chickpeas and poached egg/Conserva de Sardinhas com Grão e Ovo Escalfado

Portuguese fast food. Lunch for one with your favourite tin of sardines (we used sardines in tomato sauce), some chickpeas and a poached egg. This is literally quicker than ordering a pizza, much healthier and much tastier (than your average pizza)…

tinned sardine

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Spanish style sauce/Molho à Espanhola

Do not be deceived by the name; this is truly genuine Portuguese sauce even though I admit it has some Galician influences. This is the convenience sauce par excellence, traditionally used for grilled fish (in particular atlantic mackerel – ‘carapau’) although there is absolutely no reason not to use it with grilled meats or vegetables.
Molho à Espanhola

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Mussels à la Portuguaise/Mexilhão à Portuguesa

“À la Portuguaise” is a term that features rather prominently in Escoffier’s masterpiece Le Guide Culinaire (1903). It often stands for a simple yet magical combination of ingredients. Olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato and white wine. That’s basically what we use to bring these mussels to life. Give it a go!

Mussels
Mussels à la Portuguaise

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Bacalhau à Bráz

Bacalhau (salted cod fish) is renowned for its versatility. Portugal’s obsession with this cured fish has produced, some say, more than 1000 variations. Bacalhau à Braz is certainly one of the classics. Created by Mr Bráz, owner of a tavern in Lisbon’s bohemian Bairro Alto, this dish combines shredded bacalhau with eggs to create a delicious snack or quick lunch. This recipe is a ‘low carb’ variation, substituting the traditional fried potatoes with grated carrots. This makes for a lighter, more colourful dish which still honours the magic combination of bacalhau, olive oil and garlic. Bacalhau must be soaked in cold water for 3 days (changing the water twice a day) before cooking. Alternatively you can buy already soaked cod in frozen packs. The original recipe asks for the cod to be boiled before shredding. I don’t find this necessary and I believe you get a better taste and texture from using it raw straight into the pan.

Bacalhau à Bráz

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Seafood chowder/Sopa Branca do Mar

Fish and seafood soups are often proud specialities for restaurants all along Portugal’s coast. Different varieties of fish and shellfish combined with rich fish stocks and vegetables make these soups a substantial meal and a great use of off cuts and left overs if you have lots of fish and seafood around the house. You can also ask your fishmonger to make you a soup mix.
This recipe is a healthy (low carb, lactose and gluten free) version of a seafood chowder and substitutes cream for a mix of almond milk and silken tofu. This makes for not only a lighter and healthier dish but also allows the intense seafood flavours to come to the fore. The key for a rich flavoursome soup is a good shellfish stock, made here by simply steaming cockles and mussels. Types of fix and quantities are very flexible so do experiment…
Seafood

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Preserved Sardines/Sardinha de Conserva

Sardines are a big deal in Portugal. Together with bacalhau (salted cod), the sardine has become a symbol of Portuguese food and culture recognised around the world. A visitor to Portugal will not need to search much to see sardines on a menu, printed on t-shirts, made out porcelain, on designer goods etc…

sardinescanned

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