Food is one of the strongest souvenirs you keep once you visit the Algarve.
So, for those missing the Portuguese flavors, we’ve prepared a full meal you can invite your family to — while, let’s say, planning your next holidays in Paradise. We hope you like it.
THE STARTER — Amêijoas à Bolhão Pato
Starters have a special place in the Portuguese hearts. We also like to call them “petiscos” when they’re served in small portions with a beer or a glass of wine. Today we bring you “Amêijoas à Bolhão Pato” — amêijoas means clams. For this extremely easy and crazy delicious recipe, the most important part is the ingredients. Make sure you go to your local market because it makes a huge difference if they are fresh and full of flavor.
INGREDIENTS — Serves 4
1 kg of Clams
5 garlic cloves
A fresh spring of cilantro
- Rinse and wash the clams well. Discard any opened or broken shells you find. Place them in a food container, then cover them with salt water, or seawater when possible. Let them soak for 3 hours.
- Remove the clams from the water, and rinse them thoroughly.
- Smash each garlic clove with a kitchen wooden spoon, by pressing them against a kitchen board. Place a frying pan (one with a lid) over low to medium heat, then fill the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and the cilantro spring. Let it stay for around 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add in the clams. Cover with the lid, and let them cook for around 3 minutes until the shells open. I like to make a couple of round swings with my pan every once in a while, to help mix the juices released by the fresh ingredients. Once it’s ready, don’t forget to discard any shells that remain closed — and never ever eat them!
- Season with half a lemon, freshly squeezed by hand. Serve it with lots of bread (because the sauce is so delicious), some pieces of lemon aside, and a nice white or green wine.
Extra tip: “Bolhão Pato” can be made with other seashells, such as mussels or razor clams. Be adventurous, you won’t regret it.
THE MAIN COURSE — Bacalhau à Brás
“Bacalhau à Brás” is one of the most popular ways of cooking codfish in Portugal — from the dozens we have — and probably the most loved one. In some countries, such as Spain, they call it “Bacalao Dorado”, because of its color and texture. Let’s do it.
INGREDIENTS — Serves 4
250g of Shoe String Potatoes
800g salted codfish – soaked overnight
2 onions – thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Parsley and Olives
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat, and fry the onions in a thin layer of olive oil until translucent — around 6 minutes or so. Add the garlic and bay leaf, and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using your hands, shred the cod removing any bones or skin. Add it to the frying pan, and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Shoe String Potatoes and mix everything carefully.
- In a small bowl, give the eggs a short whisk, and add them to the mixture. Cook it over low heat stirring constantly. The eggs should be cooked but still soft and juicy.
- Season with black pepper, and salt – if needed.
- Serve garnished with olives and chopped parsley.
EXTRA TIP: Vegetarian folks love to adapt the “Á Bras” into a vegetarian recipe, by using Leek instead of Codfish.
THE DESSERT — Bolo de Bolacha
A typical coffee cake from Portugal. Bolo de Bolacha is very easy to make, and it only requires a little rest before it can be fully appreciated. Maria biscuits are one of the main ingredients of this recipe, along with coffee. Bolo de Bolacha, or “biscuit cake”, consists of alternating layers of biscuits soaked in coffee and buttercream. Some say it reminds them of tiramisu.
2 packs of Marie biscuits
1-2 cups of coffee
250g of powdered sugar
250g of butter (room temperature)
2 egg yolks
- Before we get started, we advise you to prepare the coffee and allow it to cool before dipping in the biscuits.
- For the creamy filling, mix the butter and the sugar until well combined. Once mixed together, add the egg yolks, one at a time, and whisk the mixture until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Begin to lightly soak the Maria biscuits in the cooled coffee mixture, and lay down a layer of the Maria biscuits into the tray you would like to use.
- On top of the single layer of Maria biscuits, add a layer of the cream filling, and repeat this process by adding more layers.
- You may cover the sides of the entire cake with cream, and add a light dusting of Maria biscuits over the top.
Don’t forget to send us your feedback, or tag us on social media — we would love to see the result!