Mushrooms with Queijo da Serra/Cogumelos com Queijo da Serra

A deliciously simply recipe for a starter. Easy to make many of them so ideal for a dinner party (just double or triple the recipe). Queijo da Serra is (some say) the best Portuguese cheese but competition is fierce… I must admit last time I made this, I had fun stuffing some mushrooms with serra and others with Queijo de Azeitão… Diners seemed to have fun trying to guess which one was which and by the time I arrived for a proper tasting they were all gone…
As with all simple preparations, good quality ingredients are key so pick carefully!
Mushrooms

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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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Pan sautéed potatoes/Batatas passadas pela sertã

A simple and delicious way of using left over boiled potatoes. “Passadas pela sertã” literally means passed through the frying pan. The olive oil, paprika and garlic lend the potatoes a deep and robust flavour as well as an irresistible crispy texture. This makes an excellent side dish for grilled meats.

Sauteed Potatoes

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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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Pork Ribs Vinha d’Alhos/Costelas em Vinha d’Alhos

Vinha d’Alhos is an ancient Portuguese meat marinade based on wine (vinho) and garlic (alho) with aromatics such as bay leaves, thyme, cloves and dried chillies (piri-piri). The magic combination of red wine and garlic makes up for a truly Portuguese flavour which has travelled the word during the 15th and 16th Century “descobrimentos” and made it to India where it became the basis of the Vindaloo.

This recipe takes the traditional marinade to cook falling off the bone pork ribs and create a deep and flavourful sauce. The ribs are served with halved boiled potatoes with skin (batatas à racha) and sautéed kale.

We use kuzu, a Japanese flavourless gluten-free starch thickener which gives the sauce a rich velvety texture.

Vinha d'Alhos
Vinha d’Alhos

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Baked Apple/Maça Assada

Apples play a big role in Portuguese cuisine and a discussion on our remarkable varieties like Bravo de Esmolfe or Reineta is for another post… This dessert is seen in restaurant menus across the country all over the colder autumn and winter months. It features the quintessential Portuguese mix of sugar and cinnamon and a dash of Port wine to turn apples into an exquisite (and healthy!) dessert. Please do not feel tempted to serve this with cream or ice-cream. The sweetness of the apple with the syrupy juices formed in the tray are just right…

Maça Assada, Baked Apple
Maça Assada

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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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