Tag Archives: veggies

Portuguese Dinner Party

Patrick and I recently took an incredible class on Portuguese wine at our favorite local wine shop, DCanter.  Neither of us know a ton about wine, basically just what we like and don’t like, but wine classes are a great way to learn more about certain regions and what they are known for.  One you know you like certain varietals from a certain country it makes shopping a lot easier!  We love the classes at DCanter (what a cute name right??) and this one was no exception.  We stopped in Portugal over our honeymoon and drank some great wine while we were there so the class really helped us identify different labels that we like.  Of course we brought several bottles home that were part of the class (the Marcolino Sebo QP Colheita Seleccionada Red and the Quinta da Raza Grande Escolha Alvarinho white).  I decided that a dinner party was in order with Portuguese foods to match the wine.  I already had some great Portuguese olive oil on hand and Spanish chorizo sausage which is very close to the chorico that they serve in Lisbon.  I found these great almonds from a region called Douro (that also makes great wine) at Whole Foods so I was on my way to a menu!

It was a lovely night out so we decided to do the first course out on the deck.  The chorizo thinly sliced served along with some Spanish cheeses (no luck on Portuguese cheese!) and those lovely Douro almonds.  I also marinated some green olives and set those out which went really nicely with the crisp white wine.

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Saveur Shrimp Mozambique

In addition to the cheese board I knew I wanted some seafood on the menu.  Portugal has gorgeous fish markets all over and the influence on their food from global trading is really evident.  These shrimp are the prefect example – they get their name and flavor profile from Mozambique which used to be a Portuguese colony.  This recipe is incredibly easy to make and actually comes from a restaurant in Fall River, Massachusetts where there is a huge Portuguese community.

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Portuguese Style Garlic Roasted Pork

Arguably the most famous person to come out of Fall River, MA is Emeril Lagasse.  Most people assume that he is from New Orleans but actually he is a proud son of Massachusetts.  Listen to his cooking shows and every once and a while you will hear his accent!  While he became famous for his Southern cooking, he has many family favorite Portuguese recipes that he has made very accessible.  This pork dish is unbelievably flavorful.  It takes forever to make but it’s really hands off and the smell of your house will be incredible.  Also the left overs made an amazing sandwich.  I served this along fluffy white rice.

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NYT Sauteed Kale

Kale is ubiquitous in Portuguese cooking, especially their famous kale soup.  This quick side comes together at the last minute and is a good foil to the rich pork dish.

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Bon Appetit Strawberry Marscapone Tart with Port Glaze

If you are having a Portuguese dinner party then you have to end it with port right?  We had a great time when we were in Lisbon trying out different ages and styles of port at their Solar do Vinho do Porto, an actual institute of port.  To serve with a nice glass of port this dessert also makes use of it in the sauce drizzled over the strawberries.  Absolutely delicious and the perfect way to end a tour of Portuguese wines and food.  Where to next??

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Fennel and Apple Salad

So we were going to go apple picking this weekend but Hurricane Joaquin had other plans.  Luckily I was still able to get my hands on some good local apples at the super market without all the mud and decided to dedicate this week to all things apple.  I know it’s tempting just to go the pie or apple sauce route if you have a lot of them, but there are so many more ways to use apples.  This week I will walk through 3 totally different recipes that really show the apple’s range.  This first dish is inspired by a terrific tapa at a Spanish restaurant called Jaleo, here in DC.  It’s been on their menu for years and while I haven’t been able to get it 100% perfect, this is pretty close to the real thing.  Raw apple is tossed with raw fennel, salty manchego cheese and nuts to create a great, crunchy fall salad.  Experiment with different ways of cutting the elements of this salad – sometimes I do the apple, fennel and cheese all in baton shapes, sometimes I slice them thinly, and sometimes I do them in different shapes.  The exact same ingredients take on a different personality depending on how you present them, from rustic to sophisticated.  Hope you enjoy apple week!

Fennel and Apple Salad 

  • 1 large head of fennel or 2 small, cored and sliced thinly (some fronds reserved for topping)
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and sliced thinly
  • 4 ounces manchego cheese, cubed or cut into batons
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup marcona almonds

In a large bowl toss the fennel, apple and manchego together.  In a smaller bowl crease a dressing by whisking together to the sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Toss the veggies with the dressing then spread out the salad on a nice platter.  Sprinkle with the almonds and reserved chopped fennel fronds (the green leafy parts) and serve.

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