Thursday, 21 September 2017

On the Road to Portugal - part 2


In the famous wine and olive oil region of Portugal, we found ourselves under 40 degrees Celsius. Still, it didn’t detract us from visiting some gorgeous villages, cool down in some wineries and feast in the protein-laden regional food.

In the old part of the historical village of Terena, sadly only 6 houses out of 50 were inhabited. The younger generation is leaving home for good. Our guesthouse was part of the old castle and it is a bit of a hub for the community. On one of the cooler evenings, Altino, our host, taught me how to create a typical Alentejana meal. It was a hands-on, enjoyable experience. We all toasted to it with a great local wine.

Back in my kitchen


Today, let’s have Migas: a hearty traditional dish made with salted cod, greens, garlic and stale bread. It’s very popular in the Alentejo area. It’s not subtle, and might not be to everyone’s taste but if you like dried salted cod you will enjoy it. Migas is normally a side dish but if you want to make it as a main you can add some cooked white beans to it.

Salted and dried shredded cod.
Soak them in cool water to desalt them.
Cook the cod and greens.
Add the bread and mix well.
My migas de bacalhau.
Migas de bacalhau - Cod fish migas

Ingredients

 
4 slices of stale sourdough bread
100 to 200ml filtered water
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves


500g salted dried cod (shredded)

200g shredded collard greens (or you can buy frozen greens - couve - from Portuguese delis)
Ground white pepper

Method

Soak the salted cod for 12 hours, changing the water multiple times.

Soak the bread in water for about 20 minutes.

Once the cod is desalted, place it in a saucepan with the greens and add enough water to cover them. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat, drain the water and let it stand. Save a bit of the water in case you need to use it in the next step.

In the same pan, add some olive oil, garlic and sautee. Add the greens, the cod and a bit more of olive oil and mix.

Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add it to the cod mixture. Cook it for about 10 minutes, always stirring. If you think it is too thick, use some of the reserved water. Sprinkle some ground white pepper and taste to season.

Serve straight away with salad leaves and cherry tomatoes.

A healthy note: Salted cod is a great source of protein and essential fatty acids. Salted cod contains good amounts of calcium and phosphorus, both very beneficial for bone health. Warning: Those who should strictly avoid salt in their food should be aware that salted cod contain high levels of sodium and even when desalted, some sodium will still remain in the fish. 

Collard Greens (Brassica Oleracea) are great source of fibre, chlorophyll, folic acid, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K and iron.

Till next week!

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