Portugal: The Cookbook marks the largest collection of traditional Portuguese recipes ever translated into English, and it’s a deeply satisfying kitchen companion. We hope you’ll enjoy these four delicious recipes by the Portuguese-born, internationally renowned chef Leandro Carreira.

Fried Baby Horse Mackerel with Verjus Sauce

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 20 minutes standing
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.2 kg/2 lb 11 oz baby horse mackerel cornflour (cornstarch), for coating
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pimenta da terra or a red long pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz (2?3 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 1?3 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 220 ml/71?2 fl oz (1 cup) olive oil
  • sea salt

Method:

Clean the mackerel, removing the scales. Cut off the head and set aside. Using a sharp knife, make an incision in the belly and remove the guts, then rinse the fish under cold running water and leave to drip on a perforated tray or in a colander. Season the fish with salt.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Place a clay baking tray (pan) or a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Dust the mackerel with cornflour (cornstarch), shaking off any excess. Place the fish on the hot baking tray or sheet and cook for 20–25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove the mackerel from the baking tray or sheet and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the onions, garlic and pepper together in a large bowl, then season with salt and add the vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Add the chopped parsley and olive oil to the bowl, then stir thoroughly to combine.

Arrange the fish on a serving plate and pour the sauce over the top. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Salt Cod with Eggs, Onions and Potatoes

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 24 hours soaking
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4–6

Ingredients:

  • 400 g/14 oz salt cod loins
  • 600g/1 lb 5 oz large waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 80 ml/23?4 fl oz (1?3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 white onions, peeled, halved and cut into half-moons
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, germ removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 litre/34 fl oz (41?4 cups) sunflower oil, for frying
  • 10 g/1?4 oz (1?4 cup) flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 g/3?4 oz (1/8 cup) pitted black olives, roughly chopped fine table salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, to garnish
  • green salad, to serve

Method:

Rinse the cod in cold running water, then put it into a large bowl of cold water, cover with food wrap and leave to stand in the fridge for 1 day. Keep changing the water every few hours and keep checking the salt level depending on your taste. The cod should not lose its saltiness completely.

When ready to cook, cut the potatoes with the julienne blade on a mandolin. Alternatively, using a sharp knife, slice the potato into very thin matchsticks. Rinse the potato matchsticks under cold running water to remove the starch, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

Remove the cod from the water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove any bones, then shred.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over a low heat, add the onions and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10–12 minutes, or until golden. Add the bay leaf and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cod and cook gently for 5–6 minutes so it absorbs the flavours.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat enough sunflower oil for deep-frying in a large, deep saucepan or fryer over a high heat until it reaches 180°C/350°F on a thermometer. Working in batches, carefully lower the potato matchsticks into the hot oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on the lined baking sheet. Season with salt.

Put the parsley leaves into a pile and thinly slice them, then set aside in a bowl.

Put the eggs into another small bowl and whisk lightly with a fork.

Put the cod back over a low heat and warm through for 1–2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the beaten eggs and parsley at the same time. Mix together until everything is combined. Put it back over the heat for 1 minute to lightly cook the eggs, but not too much as you don’t want scrambled eggs, then pour the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the olives. Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately with the potato matchsticks and a green salad.

Grilled Sardines on Cornbread with Tomato Salad

It is best to eat these grilled fresh sardines over the cornbread, so that the juices from the fish soak into the bread, which can then be eaten on its own.

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 10 minutes salting Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.2 kg/2 lb 11 oz fresh sardines
  • 4 large bull’s heart tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 ml/2 fl oz (4 tablespoons) white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 quantity Cornbread, cut into thick slices (page 32) sea salt

Method:

Prepare a barbecue with wood and charcoal or preheat an indoor grill (broiler).

Clean the sardines, removing the scales. Using a sharp knife, make an incision in the belly and remove the guts. Keep the heads on. Rinse the fish under cold running water and leave to drip on a perforated tray or in a colander.

Season the sardines with a generous amount of salt at least 10 minutes before cooking.

Put the tomatoes onto a large plate and season them with olive oil, vinegar and salt. Set aside.

As soon as the barbecue coals are glowing, put the cornbread directly onto the grill rack and grill for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Alternatively, cook under the grill. Set aside.

Put the sardines onto the grill rack and grill for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden all over. Alternatively, cook under the grill. Transfer the sardines to a plate and season with olive oil and vinegar.

Arrange the grilled cornbread on individual serving plates and pile the sardines on top. Serve the tomato salad alongside. The juices from the sardines will leech into the bread, so eat that last.

Chicken Stewed in a Clay Pot

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 100 g/31?2 oz Serrano ham
  • 50 g/2 oz smoked bacon, rind removed
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 10 small onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz (3?4 cup) white wine
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz (1?2 cup) port
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz (1?2 cup) firewater or grappa
  • 30 g/1 oz (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 butterhead lettuces, leaves separated
  • 60 ml/2 fl oz (4 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 30 ml/1 fl oz (2 tablespoons) white wine vinegar
  • 1 litre/34 fl oz (41?4 cups) sunflower oil, for deep-frying 1 kg/2 lb 4 oz new potatoes, peeled and cut into thin fries
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Clean the chicken, trim away any excess fat and chop it into small pieces. Slice the ham and bacon into pieces the same size as the chicken. Set aside.

Have a large bowl of iced water ready nearby. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the tomatoes with a small cross shape. Once the water is boiling, carefully add the tomatoes and blanch for 30 seconds, then transfer with a slotted spoon to the iced water and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and cut into quarters. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons salt
and 1 teaspoon pepper, then place it inside a pu?cura (clay cooking pot). Add the ham, bacon, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mustard, white wine, port, firewater or grappa and butter. Cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes, then check the chicken. If it almost ready, uncover and cook for
a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Put the lettuce leaves into a salad bowl. Combine the olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt, then drizzle over the lettuce.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Heat the sunflower oil for deep-frying in a large, deep saucepan until it reaches 180°C/350°F on a thermometer. Working in batches, carefully lower the potato fries into the hot oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on the lined baking sheet. Season with salt.

Serve the stewed chicken with the green salad and fries alongside.

Excerpted from Portugal: The Cookbook © 2022 by Leandro Carreira, £39.95, Phaidon. Photography © 2022 Mário Ambrózio and Rafael Rodrigues at Raw Studio. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.  

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