This traditional Portuguese way of preparing cuttle fish is common throughout the coast. Deceivingly simple, it’s a recipe that requires some skill in preparing the cuttlefish, cleaning them and keeping the ink to enrich an olive oil and garlic sauce. Why can’t we get them clean from the fish shop you may ask? It’s something you have to go through yourself to understand (and most fishmongers don’t like doing it and they won’t be subtle telling you how much they don’t like it). There are plenty of videos online on how to prepare the cuttle fish for grilling so I won’t go into this.
8 medium sized cuttle fish (with ink) 1 onion 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 cup of chopped coriander 1 lemon 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced) course sea salt serves four
Once the cuttle fish are clean open them in half, keeping the tentacles. Although you can grill them whole it is easier to do this flat on the griddle. Sprinkle with sea salt. Keep the ink to the side.
Grill on hot grid (charcoal preferably), make sure tentacles are well grilled and crispy.
While the cuttle fish is cooking make the dressing. Warm up the olive oil with the garlic to infuse then mix in the ink. Serve with the coriander and lemon. Great with boiled baby potatoes and some greens.
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.
“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!
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…
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.
Inspired by Bulhão Pato’s coriander, garlic and shellfish magic, this is a flavourful and delicious approach to serving fish filets. The make or break aspect of this is to get the right flavour balance in the shell fish stock. The method works equally well with fillets of bream or bass.
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!
Squid is an incredibly versatile food. In this recipe tubes and tentacles are used in combination with chorizo and tomatoes to end up with a rich flavorful dish. The relatively long cooking time gives the squid a tender texture and enriches the tomato sauce. Great for a slightly chillier summer evening.