Every week my Grandmother used to delight my cousins, sister and I, with each of our favourite dishes. I have always been a great eater, a “boca-santa” (holy mouth) and a huge fan of of my Grandmother’s traditional cuisine but there has always been one particular dish that I would savour with more pleasure: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. This traditional dish from the 19th century, created in a restaurant of Porto, was cooked by her once a week, or once a fortnight. She would boil the potatoes, the eggs and the cod, then slice everything almost into identical shapes. Then in a large copper pan, she would drop these little shapes of deliciousness into hot bublling green olive oil, poured from a textured glass bottle that lived in a cupboard above her stove. And loads of garlic. The most vivid memory that I have of the execution of this dish is the bunches of parsley that my Grandmother would thinly chop with Grandad’s knife, and the fresh smell that enveloped the kitchen. As a topping she never forgot those wrinkly, salty black olives that came from the countryside and were picked by my Grandad during the year. Here’s a little variation on my childhood favourite dish. And for dessert or tea, try the fluffly, sweet and moist “Bolos de Arroz” – Ground Rice muffins. They are so good, dunked into hot coffee or naughtly served with a dollop of good thick jam.
600g of salt cod (soaked in water for three days to remove the salt)
450g of new potatoes
4 cloves of garlic
5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of parsley
3 free range eggs
salt & pepper
1 hand of black olives
Steamed Broccoli Sprouts (optional)
In two pans, place the potatoes with the cod . Cook on a medium heat till the potatoes and the cod are soft. Should not take more than 20 minutes,
Drain everything through a colander and let it cool down. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and shred the cod. Set aside. In a pan, fry the onion in the olive oil. Add the garlic. Place in the potatoes and the cod and mix well. Season with salt & pepper. Beat the three eggs and fold them into the pan.
Serve on a deep dish or bowl with finely chopped parsley and with some steamed brocccoli sprouts (optional).
Traditional Ground Rice muffins (Bolos de Arroz)
150g of unsalted butter
200g of sugar
20o ml of milk
190g of self-raising flour
190g of ground rice
1 tsp of vanilla essence
Rind of 1 orange
Pre-heat the oven at 200 ºC.
Grease and line with parchment paper, 6 individual muffin forms or a muffin tray
In a bowl whisk the butter with the sugar till is pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Slowly add the milk, then the flour and the ground rice. Beat everything very well. Add in the vanilla essence and the rind of the orange.
Fill the forms with the cake mix and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, till they have risen and are golden.
Remove from the oven and let the muffins cool down completely before serving.