Pasto

Cooking from a Portuguese perspective

Archive for the ‘Techniques and Tricks’ Category

Grilled Sea Bream with roast red pepper butter/Dourada grelhada com molho de manteiga e pimentos

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Whole fish grilled over charcoal is a central focus for the 900 km of Portuguese coast. Simply prepared, seasoned with sea salt and grilled to perfection, one hardly needs anything other than a cold bottle of vinho verde! This recipe prepares the fish by opening it across the middle to allow for a larger grilled surface, hence maximising the charcoal flavour. This way of preparing fish makes it easier to grill just the right amount. As your dealing with a relatively thin piece of fish there is no danger of having a burnt skin and a raw middle! This also makes it easier to negotiate your way through the bones as they become more visible with the fish open in half.
Sea bass and other fish can be prepared in exactly the same way.

Grilled Sea Bream

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 31, 2010 at 9:58 am

The Ham Project II

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After all the curing, smoking and 4 months of hanging our ham was finally ready to play!

Presunto

Still surprisingly moist, next time it will hang 6 to 8 months. People making home made cure hams in Portugal often leave them hanging from one year to the next. If the ham is too moist it becomes harder to cut thinly which is essential for this kind of ham. A ham holder together with a a special ham knife can facilitate the process considerably. As with all meat, the diet of the animal is key to taste and texture of the final product and maybe next time we will be able to experiment in a more controlled environment and perhaps with the famous acorn diet…
The ham was smooth in texture with a light smoky taste. It is reassuring to have an entire ham to cut from to serve for impromptu gatherings  and snacks. The fat makes for an excellent addition to stews and roasts.
More from the ham project next year…

Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 17, 2010 at 8:20 am

The Ham Project

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Hanging cured hams must be one of the signs of a happy dwelling. Restaurants, bars and homes across Portugal, Spain and Italy feature hanging hams which can receive as much attention as a small Picasso on the wall! Presunto, jamon and prociutto are not so much a food stuff as a synthesis of methods, techniques and tastes particular to each region and community.

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

February 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Grilled Squid with roast red pepper salsa/ Lulas grelhadas com molho de pimentos

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Grilled squid is an extremely flexible ingredient which lends itself to a variety of combinations. This dish takes some of the flavours present in the classic “espetada de lula” (squid skewers) to form a rich and fresh sauce/salsa. Squid grills very quickly, the aim here is to give it a charcoal taste while maintaining its freshness.

Grilled Squid with roast red pepper salsa

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

December 7, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Chargrilled Chicken/Frango Grelhado

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This is a variation on the famous grilled chicken from Portugal, sometimes called Chicken Piri Piri though I’ve never heard any mention of this in Portugal!

chicken

Chargrilled Chicken

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

June 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

BBQ/Churrasco

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Now, BBQ is a big topic! Once you get over the Anglo-Saxon obsession with cooking cheap and nasty bangers and burgers on what is possibly the best cooking method – grilling over lump-wood charcoal. The three letter word starts to become more useful. In Portugal, churrasco or grelhados ao carvão is often synonym with extremely fresh food, simply seasoned and cooked to perfection.The terminology is itself ambiguous and the words “assar” and “grelhar” are used interchangeably depending on the ingredients (e.g. sardinhas assadas, peixe grelhado)! Let’s keep it ambiguous!

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

June 4, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Basic Bread Dough/Massa de Pão

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This is a simple recipe for a no-hassle basic bread dough to be mixed in a bread maker or dough mixer.

Bread

Bread

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 29, 2009 at 10:03 am

Grilled Pepper Salad/Salada de Pimento

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A pepper salad made out of chargrilled green peppers is the traditional accompaniment to grilled sardines in Portugal. This is a simple version with a potentially relevant trick – wrap the peppers in cling film for 5-10 minutes after grilling to make pealing easier.

Charcoal-grilled Peppers

Charcoal-grilled Peppers

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

Fried Potatoes (Batatas Fritas)

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In Brazil they called them batatas à Portuguesa though I did have to ask what these were… Perhaps this is an example of cultural stereotyping. I did order them and as they were set on the table I immediately recognised them as my grandmother’s fries. Cut by hand (not on a chopping board) by holding the potato in the left hand and cutting towards your thumb with a sharp paring knife with the right hand (invert for left-handed I guess). My grandmother used to make them on a large shallow frying pan over gas with vegetable oil. I can never get that to work quite right (I cook on an Aga, you see…). So here’s my procedure when using a deep-fryer.

Portuguese Fried Potatoes

Portuguese Fried Potatoes

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 29, 2009 at 8:09 am