Lisbon FoodA Slice of Lisbon: Old World Flavors Meet Modern Tastes
Lisbon’s old world elegance partnered with a youthful vibe extends into its dining culture. The beauty of the city’s landscape encourages al fresco dining, and restaurants welcome you with simple, well-executed comfort food with striking flavors. If the city’s charm doesn’t win you over, then its pastries will – warm custard tarts, topped with sugar and cinnamon, epitomize the Portuguese attitude toward food: well-balanced, unfussy, and completely satisfying.
This recipe is super-easy but tastes complicated, thanks to chorizo and clam juice: they provide a round, deep flavor to the wine broth that you’ll want to mop up with toasted Portuguese sweet bread. It’s remarkably light, so you’ll have plenty of room to fill up on a few cold Sagres before the meal; afterwards, a glass of Fonseca is perfect for taming the spice in the chili flakes.
Yield: 4 servings
In a stock pot on medium heat, add 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add onions, chili flakes, and a healthy pinch of salt,. Sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add chorizo and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add white wine, 1 cup water, tomatoes, and clams. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam until clams open, about 5 minutes. Divide chorizo and clams evenly among 4 large soup bowls, discarding those clams that did not open. Spoon broth with onions and garlic over clams.
Salt cod is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and, while this classic dish dates back to the 19thcentury, the taste will delight any modern palate. If you’ve never cooked with salt cod before, don’t let its appearance scare you off – it’s easy to prepare. The important thing is to leave yourself enough time to soak it overnight before it’s cooked
Rinse cod under cold water and soak overnight, changing water 2 to 3 times.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add cod and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until it flakes easily. Drain water. In a large bowl, flake cod into pieces, being careful to remove any bones, and toss with lemon juice.
Heat a sauté pan to medium-high and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and a healthy pinch of salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Lower heat and sauté for 1 minute. Add to cod dish.
Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Oil an oven-safe medium casserole dish and layer half the potatoes on the bottom. Drizzle potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Evenly spread cod and onion mixture on top. Add final layer of potatoes evenly on top of cod. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, until potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Serve and garnish with eggs, black olives, and parsley.
As addictive as french fries, there’s a good chance these crunchy beans will quickly become a new vice (and obsession). Sure, dipping a food in batter and deep-frying it might seem like a cheap trick, but the texture of string beans is ideal for this technique. Just be sure to blanch the beans and get them into ice water before you fry them; if you don’t, the beans will be raw on the inside and disappoint.
Yield: 4 servings
In a large bowl, mix flour, pimentón, and beer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 4 tablespoons kosher salt. When water is at a rolling boil, add green beans. Cook for 30 seconds, remove from boiling water, and plunge in ice water. (This will stop the cooking process.) Drain well.
Add string beans to batter. In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil until it registers 370˚F on a thermometer. Remove string beans one at a time from batter, allowing excess to drip off. Carefully place beans in oil and, working in batches, fry for 1–2 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt immediately and serve.
Massa de pimentão – the red pepper paste that the pork marinates in – is the key to the pepper taste and bright red color of the dish. Braising the pork for a long time makes it wonderfully tender, and the clams add a briny punch.
Yield: 4 servings
Add peppers, paste, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until smooth, then add 3 tablespoons of oil. Rub pork chops with pepper mixture and allow to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add half of pork and sear, about 2-3 minutes on either side. (Be careful not to crowd pan or pork will not brown.) Remove cooked from pork from pan and repeat process with remaining meat.
Add all pork and juices to pan. Add wine, 1 cup of water, and bay leaves. Scrape up brown bits from bottom. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover tightly. Cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure pork is almost covered with liquid. If not, add more wine and water. Skim fat from top of pork.
Add clams, cover, and cook for 5 minutes until just opened. (Discard any clams that do not open). Add cilantro and serve.
We like to think of these gorgeous little pastries, which are served warm and coated with cinnamon or sugar, as Lisbon’s gift to the world. Certainly, they belong on any self-respecting food lover’s list of must-trys. If, like us, you’ve been craving them since your last visit to Portugal, then give this recipe a go. We recommend using a high-quality puff pastry, such as Dufour, as the base of the dessert.
Yield: 24 pieces
In a medium bowl, mix together flour and sugar. In a small bowl, add yolks and vanilla. In a saucepan, bring milk and lemon zest to a boil. Add several tablespoons of the milk to egg yolks and mix well. Gradually add remaining milk, stirring constantly. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until well combined.
Preheat oven to 300˚ F. Brush 2 (12-cup) mini muffin pans with melted butter. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out 24 pieces. Mold each piece into individual tins. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way with custard. Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven. Immediately dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.