If you struggle to see the Portuguese connection in this recipe let me explain… This recipe is admittedly a hybrid with Portuguese and Italian influence but it does go back to using nuts, specifically chestnuts in season in the Autumn to provide substance, flavour and overall goodness to meats and vegetables. Here, chestnuts are replaced by peanuts with soft shell (it’s all about the shell!). If in Portugal use cured Queijo da Serra but Parmesan is a good substitute (with apologies to all the goof folks from Parma, Reggio Emilia). If in season use ‘miscaros” instead of Shitake mushrooms.
1 bunch of runner beans split in half lengthways
2 tbsp of peanuts with soft skin (untreated nor flavoured)
2tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup of finely sliced shitake (or miscaros)
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp grated cured queijo da serra or parmesan
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Boil the runner beans in salted water and add bicarb soda after you put the beans in and the water comes back to the boil. Cook until tender but do not overcook (5 minutes should do it).
While the beans are cooking , toast the peanuts on a shallow frying pan
Rinse the beans in cold water in a colander to stop overcooking.
In a mortal and pestle grind the garlic with a little salt, peanuts, parsley and grated cheese.
Shallow fry the mushrooms in the olive oil on high heat, add salt and pepper when they start browning.
Add the butter to the mushrooms, add the runner beans and two thirds of the mortar and pestle mixture, warm through.
Serve with the rest of the mortar and pestle mix on top, shaved cheese. black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
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.
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.
Quince is the thing to look out for when you begin to feel those long sunsets at the end of the summer. This rather acidic, not exactly good looking fruit grows in many places around the world but is often unappreciated. For the Portuguese this is pure seasonal gold! We rush to the local markets and grab the best fruit at the best price and at the right time! Quince, marmelos in Portuguese, are the quintessencial fruit for preserves – marmelada, which became the english marmelade. The word marmelada first appeared in writing by the pen of the Portuguese bard Gil Vicente in 1521. Don’t be fooled by the story that Mary Queen of Scots, who used to eat marmelada when feeling low (who wouldn’t?), invented the word marmelada through her “Marie est malade” (Mary is sick)! In any case, this post is not about marmelada but an alternative way of preparing this delicious fruit which, I guarantee, will become the best friend of your Autumn Sunday roasts.
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.
Autumn in Portugal brings lots of goods, just when you think the plentiful summer has come to an end. With the colourful harvest of the vineyards arrive the chestnuts and the magustos, open air festivities celebrating the new wine with chestnuts roasted on a bonfire. Used as compliments to roast meats or as key ingredients in soups long before the potato was introduced from the new world, the chestnut is now a delicacy usually appreciated after a meal. This is the simplest and perhaps the most rewarding way of cooking chestnuts. While traditional roast chestnuts bring out a crispy and fluffy texture, boiling them brings out their unique sweet and nutty flavour.
The pungent aroma of garlic makes its way into most Portuguese dishes. From thin raw slices to slow fried minced pieces, this keystone of Southern European cuisine is remarkably versatile in its use. This recipe takes garlic in its most sweet and nutty character to flavour a delicate creamy soup. The recipe is inspired by 18th century Portuguese techniques which provide substance and body to broths by using ground almonds. The ground almonds not only thicken the broth but provide extra flavour. Chia seeds are included as an optional ingredient of their superfood status and to add consistence and texture to the soup. This is a quick and simple yet sophisticated soup you can prepare while making the rest of your meal.
The archetypal Portuguese wet rice, flavoured by a rich prawn stock is a must in any coastal restaurant. The capacity for producing a perfect arroz de camarão can make or break a chef’s reputation.
As with most prawn and shrimp dishes, the secret is to extract as much flavour as possible from the shells and heads. To cook with shelled shrimp meat is no more than a allusive reference to the unique taste of this remarkable seafood. Frozen at sea prawns are the most practical way of guaranteeing good results as sourcing fresh prawns is usually rather tricky. This recipe achieves its richness and flavour through the preparation of a stock used to cook the rice. The same stock can be used as a basis for a prawn velouté soup (creme de camarão).
The Algarve region in the south of Portugal is renowned for guaranteed good weather, high levels of tourism but also excellent sea food, especially if one avoids restaurants serving chips with everything… This is an extremely simple recipe for small squid which brings out their natural salty taste and soft texture. Like with all squid cooking, timing is everything!
This is a common domestic recipe which produces a tasty and hearty chicken stew often served with boiled white rice or potato purée. Using jointed chicken with pieces on the bone adds to the taste but you can use breast pieces though only cook them for 15 minutes in the sauce after browned. Needless to say that you should use the best chicken you can afford for best results. A potato and celeriac purée complements the sweetness of this dish perfectly. Almost as good as the dish itself are the leftovers of boned chicken pieces which can be used to make excellent chicken pies (empadas de frango)!