Monday, August 3, 2009

Eating in a New Land

When we visited Portugal in February, I had to take a picture of this at the grocery store:

This is salted dried codfish called Balcahau. People stand in line for it and have it chopped different ways by a machine. It was very puzzling to me to think how this could be prepared into a dish.

The very first night we stayed in Portugal after our move, we ate at a small cafe in downtown Bombarral. I decided to go for the Balcahau a Bras after it's high recommendation from the English-speaking waiter we had (who was also the cook). Here's what came out:

It actually smelled good and really tasted great. I think I would have enjoyed it more as a side dish than a whole plate of it. The waiter/cook said it is made from the fish, potatoes and eggs. I may be wrong, but I think people may use shoestring potatoes to make this. They sell a lot of shoestring potatoes here too.

With a little googling, I found 1000's of Balcalhau recipes listed (in Portuguese) and this bit of information about it in English. So maybe I'll give it another shot to try in a recipe at home when I'm feeling adventuresome again (and the line at the store is not long!).

I didn't get to take any pics of the snails people were eating that night at other cafes. This came as a bit of a surprise after our girls had been collecting the same ones off the exterior walls of our home. In the past, we have thought of them as a menance to some of our plants. Portuguese people eat them. Quite an education for our girls seeing people eat them and then for sale in the fish area at the store that week.

One restaurant we ate at that I had to take a picture of when we were in the Algarve last month:

...a little bit more like home.

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