#nunomendes #mylisbon #tenspeedpress #totalwine #viladasrainhas
My husband and I popped into Total Wine, Toys R Us for grown-ups, and sampled a well-historied Portuguese cherry liqueur. The guy was telling us about different ways to mix it and my head went a different direction. It would be perfect in a sauce for roast pork or beef. He got excited and asked me to post on their FB page if it works. I didn’t realize I was talking to the owner.
I love Portugal and started reminiscing with my sweetie. The gray windy coasts, fado guitar, blue and white ceramic work, and the genius handling of food, frequently inexpensive at that. We toured Spain, Portugal, and Morocco on our honeymoon with a few bonus days in Paris, a blizzardy gift from mother nature. We had the most amazing meal, a potato leek soup with a hauntingly flavorful bread, at a farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere in Portugal. He came home from wine world and looked up a historical food and cultural vacation in Lisbon. It sounds beyond amazing. I love his quiet romance. <sniff> I was craving some of the deliciousness we’d had in Lisbon, so I grabbed My Lisbon: A Cookbook from Portugal’s City of Light and Bernard put on a little fado guitar. It took us right back. The food in this book is phenomenal, and the pictures look like a well-fooded travel journal. If you’ve been there, you need this as a retroactive souvenir, and if you haven’t, it’ll give you a glimpse of what Lisbon has to offer.
A huge thanks to Ten Speed Press for letting me share 3 recipes with you: Shrimp Bread Porridge, Almond Cream Triangles, and Vinha D’alhos-Style Vegetables. My review of the book follows the recipes.
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Reprinted with permission from My Lisbon by Nuno Mendes, copyright © 2018. Photography by Andrew Montgomery. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Shrimp bread porridge
Açorda de gambas
Shrimp açorda, a kind of bread-thickened soup, is dreamy when made well. I like mine spiced and lemony, bound together with a flavorful stock made from the shells of the shrimp. If you can get your hands on some really good sweet red Carabineros shrimp, use only the shells for the stock and add the flesh right at the end, so that it’s almost raw and just heated through. Some of the marisqueiras (shellfish restaurants) around Guincho beach west of Lisbon serve fabulous açordas, and it’s just perfect to eat this by the sea.
10 ounces/300 g large fresh shrimp, shell and head on
5 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces/200 g sourdough or ciabatta
1 fresh corn on the cob
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves,crushed
3 1/2 ounces/100 g ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
A small handful of cilantro, stalks and leaves chopped separately
3 whole egg yolks
Flaky sea salt and ground white pepper
Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add the shrimp. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shells turn pink. Remove the shrimp, reserving the cooking water. Once cool enough to handle, twist the heads to remove them. Peel them and use a small knife to make a slit along the middle of the back of each one, then pull out the veins.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the shrimp shells and heads, and cook for a few minutes to release their flavor. Cover with the reserved cooking water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid and discarding the shells. Tear the bread into rough chunks. Pour 2 cups/500 ml of shrimp stock over the bread and leave to soak in a bowl for 20 minutes.
Preheat the broiler to medium-high, add the corn, and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, until just golden brown and crispy, turning it halfway during cooking. Once cooled slightly, cut the kernels off the cob.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add the fennel and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the soaked bread and add the tomatoes, cilantro stalks, and corn. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then stir in the shrimp and 1 egg yolk. Taste for seasoning and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
Serve in bowls with a fresh egg yolk on top of each one, and add a good squeeze of lemon juice, some extra-virgin olive oil, and the cilantro leaves.
Almond cream triangles
This is one of my most beloved pastéis: a triangle of pastry named after the Jesuit monk’s hat it resembles. Different versions have developed over the last hundred years; in my favorite type, the dough is baked dark and crispy, the almonds are toasted, and the pastries are stuffed with almond egg cream. I love to buy a couple and eat them on a bench at Praça Luís de Camões, a central square that is fabulous for watching the world go by while savoring my jesuitas.
7/8 cup/200 ml sugar syrup (page 33 – I’ve added it below ~ Jen)
6 egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
13/4 ounces/50 g ground almonds
2 (11-ounce/320 g) sheets all-butter puff pastry
1egg, beaten lightly with a dash of water
11/2 ounces/40g sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 430°F/220°C (convection 390°F/200°C) and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Heat the sugar syrup in a pan until just boiling, then leave to cool for a few minutes. Whisk the yolks lightly in a heatproof bowl, then pour the sugar syrup over the yolks, whisking all the time. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook gently over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and ground almonds. Pour it out onto a plate to cool, covered with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
Make sure the pastry is in two large rectangles about ⅛ inch/3 mm thick, rolling them out a little if necessary. Cut each one into 6 large triangles. Spread half of the triangles with 1 tablespoon of the almond egg cream. Place the remaining triangles on top and gently press the edges to seal. Lightly brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.
For the sugar syrup:
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons/225 g superfine sugar
1 cinnamon stick
A few strips of lemon zest
Put the ingredients in a pan with 5 Tablespoons/75 ml and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Cook over low heat until you have a light brown, fragrant caramel, swirling the pan occasionally.
Carefully add 5 Tablespoons/75 ml more water and return the pan to a gentle heat to dissolve any solid caramel, then strain into a heatproof bowl. (The leftover syrup will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for weeks.)
Vinha d’alhos–style vegetables
Legumes com vinha d’alhos
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish
Sadly, vegetables are often a bit of an afterthought in Portuguese gastronomy. They’re often overcooked or added to stews that will be long simmered. Here, I’ve chosen to use vegetables that we know and love, giving them the vinha d’alhos (wine and garlic) treatment and resisting the temptation to add lots of meat. The result is this delicious roasted dish that can easily sit at the center of the table and hold its own.
For the glaze
2/3 cup/150 ml red wine, ideally a light- to medium-bodied red wine such as a Pinot Noir
3 tablespoons/50 ml red wine vinegar, plus a little extra (optional)
3 tablespoons/50 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
3 garlic cloves, smashed
½ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, gently crushed
21/2 tablespoons/50 g honey 1 cinnamon stick
For the vegetables
3 red onions, cut into thick rings 14 ounces/400 g parsnips, halved lengthwise
17 ounces/500 g heirloom carrots, halved lengthwise
Flaky sea salt, ground white pepper, and cracked black pepper
13/4 ounces/50 g walnuts
3 slices day-old bread, such as ciabatta or sourdough
2 tablespoons olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 orange Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
A small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
To make the glaze — Put the glaze ingredients in a pan and cook over medium heat until the honey dissolves. Be careful not to reduce the glaze too much at this stage, as it will reduce further while cooking. Set aside.
To make the vegetables — Preheat the oven to 390°F/200°C (convection 355°F/180°C). Put the onions in a baking dish large enough to allow the vegetables plenty of room to roast, rather than steam (we want them to roast for flavor and color). Sit the parsnips and carrots on top of the onions and season with salt and white pepper. Pour the glaze over and mix well. Roast for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. After 15 minutes, you can remove the cinnamon stick if you like (I prefer to leave it in). Baste the vegetables with the glaze two or three times while cooking. I also like to add an extra splash of red wine vinegar halfway through for an acidic kick.
Put the walnuts on a separate baking sheet and bake for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Coarsely chop them once cooled.
Make the croutons by tearing the bread into rough bite-size pieces. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the bread, and toast for 5 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Put the croutons in a bowl and mix in the orange and lemon zests and parsley. Season with salt and white pepper.
Once the vegetables are cooked, if the glaze seems too liquid you can simmer it in a pan to reduce, then spoon it back over the vegetables. Sprinkle the walnuts and croutons over the vegetables and add a generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil, flaky sea salt, and cracked black pepper.
My review of the book….
My Lisbon: A Cookbook from Portugal’s City of Light
By Nuno Mendes
Phenomenal book. We have loved every single dish we’ve tried. It’s like a mini vacation to Lisbon.
1) Sausage and Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce – p 118. The depth of flavor is gorgeous, it’s nice and healthy, it’s weeknight easy, and my kids thanked me twice. It’s the middle of summer right now. I can’t wait to make this again when it’s cold outside and the fireplace is going.
2) Pork and Beef Croquettes – p 64. These are fantastic croquettes. The flavor and texture are perfection. When you add the béchamel to the cooked onions, garlic, carrots, and meats, it looks like it will never be shapeable. Not to worry. After a quick trip in the fridge, and a quick olive rub on your hands, they hold their shape nicely.
3) Kale Soup with Chourico and Potatoes (Caldo Verde) – p 89. This is delicious. It’s filled with pureed onions, garlic, Spanish chorizo, potatoes, and kale, and finished off with croutons, olive oil, and nice vinegar.
4) Almond Cream Triangles – p 28. These are heavenly, and easy since they call for puff pastry sheets. The warm almond sugar made the whole house smell lovely.
5) Red Mullet with Spanish Sauce – p 202. My grocer didn’t have red mullet, so I went with the recommended alternative, sea bass. The sauce complements the fish so nicely, and it’s such a simple preparation.
6) Tomato and Strawberry Salad – p 150. This tastes like summer. The strawberry tomato combination works so well together, and it’s so pretty.
7) Kale Migas with Mushrooms – p 233. This is fantastic. It’s one of those ‘something out of nothing’ recipes. Unlike Mexican migas, there’s no eggs in this dish. Bread, kale, mushrooms, garlic, and paprika in olive oil and pork fat. The bread is soaked in boiling water first, so it’s pillowy inside and crusty outside. This could make someone crave kale. I cheated. It called for pork fat. I thought, “Why cut out the middle man?”, and chopped 3 slices of bacon into lardons to generate that fat.
8-10) Café-Style Steak – p 126 and Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Melting Cheese – p 242. Amazing dinner. The steak is basted in butter, then gets a creamy, boozy, shallot and mustard sauce, and is topped with the thinnest slice of ham. The potatoes remind me of a raclette dinner. They’re boiled in salt water, then lightly smashed and roasted in olive oil, s&p, garlic, and bay, and finally dressed in slightly caramelized onions and gruyere. Absolute perfection. I made this on a Monday, but it’s very holiday worthy.
11) Shrimp Bread Porridge – p 113. Divine. The sweetness of the fennel and the corn, and the quick homemade shrimp stock gives the bread pudding so much flavor, and an egg yolk is added at the last second for richness.
12) Marinated Pork with Red Pepper Paste – p 214. Excellent pork. I’ll double the pepper paste sauce next time. My kids said that would be awfully nice with a spoon.
13) Vinha D’alhos-Style Vegetables – p 228. These are delicious. The citrus really pops, and the wine, garlic, and vinegar make the dish so decadent.
Some others I have flagged to try: Almond and Butternut Tarts – p 31 * Fried Pork Crescents – p 67 * Shrimp Turnovers – p 74 * Spiced Crab Samosas – p 77 * Grilled Piri Piri Chicken with Potato Chips – p 135 * Peas and Fava Beans with Cornbread Crumbs – p 147 * Black-Eyed Pea, Red Pepper, and Apple Salad – p 148 * Smoked Garlic and Chicken Sausage – p 191 * Beef Skewers with Chourico and Bay Leaves – p 220 * Drunken Figs with Pistachios and Cream – p 263 * Caramel Walnut Mousse – p 265 * Caramel Chocolate Truffles – p 272
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