This recipe claims no historical authenticity but is inspired by the first cookbook to be published in Portugal – Domingos Rodrigues’ Arte de Cozinha (1680). The book is a fascinating journey into a world of flavours that combine recently available spices like saffron, cinnamon and cardamon with european cooking methods. Th Portuguese discoveries of the XIV and XV century transformed the larder of not only Portuguese society but all of Europe as well bringing old Portuguese techniques to South America, India, China and Japan!
The sauce presented here is inspired by a combination of almond flour and egg yolk which seems to have been used as a standard technique for providing body and texture to sauces and soups in Rodrigues’ book. We use it here to produce a light and delicate sauce flavoured with mussel juice, served with roast asparagus.
Fresh scallops are incredibly rare in Portugal these days but this dish captures some of the magic of classic Portuguese cured meat and seafood combinations such as squid or monkfish grilled skewers. These simple recipes blend delicate sea flavours with strong cured land produce such as smoked bacon or chouriço to achieve a unique richness in contrast. For this recipe scallops should be cleaned to remove the rubbery muscle and skin while cleaning the liver (orange bit) from brown bits of skin. Seasoning this dish depends on the saltiness of your chouriço so make sure you taste before serving and add fleur de sel, Maldon or Kosher salt before serving. This recipe is served on a slice of courgette and serves 4 starters.