If you struggle to see the Portuguese connection in this recipe let me explain… This recipe is admittedly a hybrid with Portuguese and Italian influence but it does go back to using nuts, specifically chestnuts in season in the Autumn to provide substance, flavour and overall goodness to meats and vegetables. Here, chestnuts are replaced by peanuts with soft shell (it’s all about the shell!). If in Portugal use cured Queijo da Serra but Parmesan is a good substitute (with apologies to all the goof folks from Parma, Reggio Emilia). If in season use ‘miscaros” instead of Shitake mushrooms.
1 bunch of runner beans split in half lengthways
2 tbsp of peanuts with soft skin (untreated nor flavoured)
2tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup of finely sliced shitake (or miscaros)
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp grated cured queijo da serra or parmesan
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Boil the runner beans in salted water and add bicarb soda after you put the beans in and the water comes back to the boil. Cook until tender but do not overcook (5 minutes should do it).
While the beans are cooking , toast the peanuts on a shallow frying pan
Rinse the beans in cold water in a colander to stop overcooking.
In a mortal and pestle grind the garlic with a little salt, peanuts, parsley and grated cheese.
Shallow fry the mushrooms in the olive oil on high heat, add salt and pepper when they start browning.
Add the butter to the mushrooms, add the runner beans and two thirds of the mortar and pestle mixture, warm through.
Serve with the rest of the mortar and pestle mix on top, shaved cheese. black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Literally translated as ‘small fish from the garden’ these unassuming delicacies have a bit of a world history. Portuguese missionaries traveling to Japan in the 16th century shared the practice of frying green beans in a light batter. The Japanese loved it so much that the practice became widespread and tempura (related to the Portuguese word tempero) became famous the world over. This recipe spreads the global reach of these ‘vegetable fish’ by using tapioca flour from Brazil. Tapioca is a gluten free flour made from casava and makes for an excellent alternative to wheat flour. The search for the perfect batter is a life-time quest and at the moment we think this one is the winner. Although this is a fried food, the wheat free flour and the fact we fry in olive oil makes it guilt free and a healthy starter or side dish.
Soups are an essential part of a Portuguese traditional meal. Although the most famous is Caldo Verde, Portugal has a lot to offer when it comes to the magic transformation of a few simple vegetables into a tasty and nutritious meal. Soups are normally a simple affair with only one rule – excellent ingredients – just get seasonal veg at the market and you’ll be fine.
This recipe is for a soup that is traditionally from the north of the country that can be a substantial meal in itself. The Portuguese are rather particular about the quality of beans and there is much to choose from when it comes to varieties. This recipe uses a brown coloured bean called manteiga which is similar to pinto beans. Although you can get beans already cooked in a jar, this soup needs the real thing as most of the flavour will come from the water used to cook the beans.
As with most dried beans, soak overnight in plenty of water (you can soak a larger quantity and then freeze the cooked beans to use in other recipes).
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.