Pasto

Cooking from a Portuguese perspective

Archive for the ‘Techniques and Tricks’ Category

Bacalhau

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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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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Octopus Tartare/Tartaro de Polvo

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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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Written by Pedro Rebelo

January 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Roasted Quince/Marmelos Assados

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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.

Marmelos Assados

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

October 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Spanish style sauce/Molho à Espanhola

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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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Written by Pedro Rebelo

September 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Chestnuts/Castanhas

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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.

Read about São Martinho, the chestnut day par excellence!

chestnuts

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

October 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Garlic Soup/ Sopa d’ Alho

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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.

Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

February 27, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Prawn Rice/Arroz de Camarão

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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).

 

Prawn Rice/Arroz de Camarão

Prawn Rice/Arroz de Camarão

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

February 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm