This past weekend we catered a traditional Portuguese inspired six-course menu and I am still thinking about the simple and delicious recipes from this function. We started the meal with the country’s national soup, Caldo Verde. Every Portuguese family has made it, eaten it, loved it and each family has their own special touch to make it the perfect bowl of soup. This made things a bit intimidating, but by using some simple techniques we managed to make this soup a hit amongst the guests. Here in Elmira, it may be hard to find certain ingredients for this soup, but if you are feeling adventurous and want to attempt this recipe, you must pay a visit to an authentic Portuguese store for some key ingredients like the chouriço (garlicky sausage) and collard greens. We loved visiting Torreense Store in Kitchener as they were very friendly, and helpful in giving us tips on how to make the soup and what products were the best. They also gave us helpful hints on how to wash the collards to bleed some of the bitterness out of them.
As a side note, if you are a cheese lover, you will find this store has an incredible selection of authentic Portuguese cheeses for one to explore and discover. Since fish is another staple in traditional Portuguese fare, we encourage you to try this simple and tasty baked fish recipe which was served as the third course in this meal. The recipe works for any type of whitefish, but I recommend trying cod as this would be the most common amongst the Portuguese if you are aiming for authentic. We hope you try these recipes and we are sure you will enjoy them as much as we did!
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onion, minced
2 clove garlic, minced
6 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 quarts cold water
6 ounces chouriço sausage, thinly sliced
Vegetable soup base, to taste
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound collard greens (can also use kale), rinsed and chiffonade
Chiffonade your collard greens or kale by rolling the leaves into ‘cigars’ and thinly slicing. If using kale, simply rinse and set aside. Collards require a special washing technique which consists of two hot water rinses and one cold. Soak the collards in hot water two times and squeeze using your hands. The final rinse should be a cold water rinse. This process will make the collards taste less bitter in addition to bleeding some of the green colour out of them. After the cold water rinse, set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in three tablespoons olive oil for three minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, three minutes more. Pour in water, bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are mushy.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook sausage until it has released most of its fat, seven minutes. Drain.
Mash potatoes or puree the potato mixture with a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper into the soup and return to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Just before serving, stir collards into soup and simmer, five minutes, until collards are tender. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place fried sausage into your severing bowl and serve at once.
Portuguese Baked Fish
2 lbs fish fillets (cod, haddock or other white fish.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes (about 1 medium sized can)
1 ¼ cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
salt and pepper
1 yellow & red pepper, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 bunch fresh parsley, minced
In a skillet heat the olive oil. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute over medium heat till transparent (about 5 minutes).
Add peeled tomatoes, and seasonings. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a baking pan pour about 1/3 of the sauce.
Put the fish fillets on top of the sauce. Top with the sliced peppers.
Pour the wine over this and then top with lemon slices.
Pour the rest of the tomato sauce over all and then top with minced parsley.
Bake this for about 25 minutes, or until the fish is done and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with rice.