The sauce that coats the clams is prepared with olive oil (of very good quality as it is the star ingredient of the sauce), garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and sometimes, as is the case here, some dry white wine to bring even more flavor. Then, the juice of lemon juice is drizzled before being served.
The Lisboetas and travelers returning from the Tagus river will speak to you with joy of the infinite pleasure of savoring amêijoas à Bulhão Pato by the sea and finishing the dish with a good bread to soak up the wonderful juice of the clams intimately mixed with the olive oil, garlic and cilantro. An easy and quick recipe for a short lunch break or at the end of the day, at sunset, at the Port of Lisbon.
Many of the emblematic dishes of Portuguese gastronomy are prepared with fish or shellfish. Nothing surprising for a country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and whose capital sits on a bay.
The Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, enjoys a great reputation for the variety and freshness of its fish, shellfish and crustaceans. It is from this region that comes a large part of the seafood consumed in Portugal, including clams. Some are farmed and others are picked up by mariscadores, shellfish farmers.
In Portugal, the amêijoas are at the heart of many recipes such as cataplana (seafood dish with spices, white wine, tomatoes, etc.) or carne de porco à alentejana (consisting of pork, clams and accompanied by potatoes). And many others.
But today, I decided to feature the recipe of amêijoas à Bulhão Pato. It is named after Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, a poet, gastronomist and epicurean, who was an important figure in the intellectual and artistic life of Portuguese society in the mid to late nineteenth century. He even participated in a culinary book, “The cook of the cooks” (O Cozinheiro dos Cozinheiros) by Paulo Henrique Plantier, published for the first time in 1870, which offered a chapter of recipes invented and made by famous Portuguese artists of the time.
So this is a nice tribute to this epicurean and lover of good food, that this dish that is so popular still bears his name today, and continues to challenge the curious foodies like us.
Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato – Recipe
Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato are a delicious traditional dish of the city of Lisbon that is prepared with clams coated with a sauce composed of olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and white wine.
- 2 lb fresh clams
- ½ cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic , peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 lemon
- Soak the clams in a large amount of water with the coarse salt for 3 hours. They will desalinate and get rid of the sand they contain. Place in the refrigerator.
- Rinse thoroughly and several times in cold water to completely get rid of sand.
- Use a brush to scrape the shells to remove the last traces of sand as well as any marine residues.
- Pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the garlic and cilantro. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
- Add the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook over medium heat until the clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once all the clams are open, place them on the serving dish and let the sauce boil over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the clams.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice before eating.
Carnival is a fun party with many traditions in several countries. But how do you celebrate Carnival in Portugal?
Unlike other places in the world, Carnival in Portugal is celebrated mainly in small villages. Let’s find out some examples:
Entrudo Race – The Schist Villages Carnival
The chanfana is a dish for a hearty lunch on Fat Tuesday, but even so, the Entrudo Race in the Schist Villages, in the middle of the Serra da Lousã, is still being done. Picking up clothes and old objects that are no longer used, the departure for the Corrida do Entrudo goes to the villages of the municipality of Góis, where everything is allowed. From blocks and verses, whose themes are closely linked to the daily lives of the inhabitants of Schist Villages, to the games played by the elders, and to the rattle of women and younger men, everyone who participates in it must wear masks made of cork and natural elements, which include horrifying and diabolical expressions.
Canas de Senhorim – A Carnival rivalry
A rivalry with more than 400 years dictates that two neighborhoods of Canas de Senhorim, Paço and Rossio, parade in disarray. The two carnival marches take to the streets first, singing songs from old marches and wearing facts alluding to Canas de Senhorim’s past. In the great carnival parade on Tuesday of Carnival, wins the one that celebrates with more joy all the devotion for your neighborhood.
The 2nd Carnival Fair is divided between the Farinhada, in which the girls who leave the house until noon are at risk of being “floured”, and the Monday of the Old Women, during the afternoon.
The Carnival ends on the 4th Ash Fair, with the Queima do Entrudo. After Batatada, the community dinner whose main dish is cod with potatoes, eggs, vegetables, bread and wine, the clown from Entrudo is taken through the streets thus making the farewell to Carnival.
Torres Vedras –
The first reference to the Torres Carnival appears in the reign of D. Sebastião, in a document dated 1574, in which a resident of the town of Torres Vedras lodges a complaint “against young men playing with a rooster Entrudo day bringing rounds, swords, sticks as they usually do “.
Reis do Carnaval and “Matrafonas”, so characteristic of Corso Carnavalesco, first appeared in the 1920s, decisively marking the history of the Torres Vedras Carnival, and assuming an eminently popular charisma, by rejecting external costumes.
A different theme each year, with the construction of a real carnival village, and floats.
For many, this is the most “Portuguese of Portugal” Carnival.
Loulé – The Algarve Carnival
The oldest Carnival in the Algarve is over 100 years old
The entertainment starts in the morning reserved for the children’s parade, and the Grand Première de Carnaval is scheduled for Monday night, in the Salão de Festas de Loulé.
Corso Carnavalesco fills the streets of this Algarve city on “fat Sunday” and on Carnaval Tuesday, with the parade of floats and extras that spread doses of contagious joy, and confetti and streamers mixed through the air.
If you want to visit the capital of Portugal, in this text I will give you some tips on how to enjoy Lisbon in the best possible way.
Lisbon attracts visitors for its history, but also for its varied tourist offer, able to please any style of traveler.
Tours, gastronomy, beaches, museums, historical monuments and nature.
So that your experience in the city of seven hills is well used, here are ten essential tips
1. How to get there
The city is well served by public transport, with metro lines and buses that cover the entire urban area. For those arriving at the airport, just follow the signs, purchase the individual transportation card (viva viagem) in a machine and load it according to the desired option. Just validate the card and board. The line that leaves the airport is the red one, which crosses with the others.
Important tip: Lisbon is known as the city of the seven hills. Consider this when preparing your luggage and also choose the place of accommodation. And don’t forget comfortable shoes
2. Where to stay
If you are looking for a lively place at night, you can look for Bairro Alto, while Baixa is the most touristic neighborhood but also very close to the main tourist spots in the city. Another neighborhood I suggest staying in is Alfama, the oldest part of the city.
For those who prefer the beach, there are options in the cities near Lisbon, which belong to the same district and, therefore, have a good offer of public transport, making it easy to get around, for example Cascais, or the Costa de Caparica, for those who like surf.
3. What to eat
The classics deserve all the attention. Pastel de Belém (in Belém) – or pastéis de nata (in the rest of the city) -, pastel de bacalhau or typical dishes like Bacalhau à Brás or Polvo a lagareiro (preferably away from Rua Augusta, to avoid tourist traps) .
For those looking for more modern concepts, a great option is the LX Factory
4. The Lisbon night
Cosmopolitan, Lisbon brings together adventurers from different countries, who go out for an imperial drink (as it is called a beer) during the night. The most concentrated spots are Pink Street, surrounded by bars with diverse proposals, such as Menina e Moça, which during the day also works as a bookstore, and Pensão do Amor, a former brothel turned into a bar and disco.
There is also the Cais do Sodré area, with lively parties and a beautiful view of the Tagus. Bairro Alto is a bustling spot, with crowded streets and lots of entertainment. For those looking for a more authentic experience, the trick is to get lost in the streets of Alfama and end up in one of the many fado shows that take place there.
5. Mandatory stops
Be sure to have them in your script:
Praça do Comércio or Terreiro do Paço and Pier of the columns
It is one of the largest squares in Europe and was for many years a noble space in the city, with palaces and headquarters of important institutions. It was also the entry of people of the nobility, who disembarked at Cais das Colunas.
Rua Augusta Arch (and Rua Augusta)
Rua Augusta is super busy, full of shops and restaurants and also many street artists. It is curious to see how each one finds his way of earning a living in the city.
To climb the Arch, the cost is low (2.5 €) and the ideal is to go in the late afternoon, to catch an incredible view of the sunset. It’s a highlight, you can also see a little bit of Lisbon and, of course, the Tagus.
Chiado and Alfama
These are two of the most traditional neighborhoods in Lisbon. The first is where all the city’s cultural aura circulated, with writers, poets and other artists who were inspired by this special air that only Chiado has and created their works from that. Alfama has preserved houses from before the earthquake that almost destroyed the capital entirely. Small streets where it is easy to get lost (and also find yourself) are a charm apart
– Elevators and viewpoints
Located at various points, they offer unique views of Lisbon, with special angles.
This is another essential region that guarantees a day well spent visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, Monument to the Discoveries, Berardo Collection Museum, Praça do Império and the famous Pastel de Belém. To get there, just use the tram 15E, which leaves Praça do Comércio or Praça da Figueira.
7. Parque das Nações
Getting away from the cultural and historical aura, there is also the modern Parque das Nações, with a cable car, the main highlight being the Oceanarium. The space is very well organized and offers the opportunity to see sharks and many other exotic fish, large or small, up close. You can get comfortable there, even sitting in front of the giant aquarium and watching the coming and going of the aquatic residents.
With easy access by bus or train, the beaches in the Lisbon region should also be explored. On the south bank of the Tagus, the options are Costa da Caparica and Setúbal, with breathtaking landscapes.
Already in the same way, there are equally incredible options, such as Cascais, Carcavelos, Parede and Oeiras. Each beach has its charm, with rocks by the sea and crystal clear water.
The only thing is that the water is cold, but, of course, worth the dive.
9. Unique destinations a few km from Lisbon:
– Sintra, a world heritage site, is 35 minutes by train from Lisbon (Rossio station). Here you can visit the Pena Palace, the old village palace, the esoteric Quinta da Regaleira, and much more.
For those looking for a religious destination, they can reach Fatima by bus in about an hour and a half from the Sete Rios bus station
If you are looking for truly unforgettable historic places, you can rent a car and visit the monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaça about an hour and a half from Lisbon.
10. Visit Lisbon with me 😉
If you want to enjoy the city, visit less touristy places and live that experience in complete relax without the stress of planning, then entrust me with organizing your trip. Let’s discover Lisbon together for an authentic and unforgettable experience.
Açorda, is a typical Alentejo dish. It is a gift of the presence of Arabs in our lands. It also seems that açorda is a subsistence dish, probably following food crises. And its arrival is due to its ease of preparation and above all to the simple mixture of basic products. Bread has always been, and still is, a fundamental food.
In Arab times on the peninsula, we found many soups to which crumbled or coarsely sliced bread was added. This seems to be the origin of the açordas. However, almost only in the south of the country we assume the name açorda. This term never appears associated with bread soups that are still made today in Beiras or Trás-os-Montes.
And we have the great variant of açorda, which is no longer soup, and which has become a reference dish in Portugal. In a treatise on Arab cuisine by Ibn Abd al-Ra’uf, açorda is referred to, with the designation Tarid [thari: d] or Tarida, in Arabic, which means migrated bread, to which are added garlic, coriander and hot water.
In consultation with Arabic dictionaries, we also find the term Ath thurdâ, which means soup with bread.
Bread, even today, is a structural element of our food. In the past, bread would have to be consumed in its entirety for its value as a permanent support for consumption. Its application in soup would be a way to use the oldest and driest bread. It would be its full absorption.
In 1876 João da Mata publishes his “Kitchen Art” specially for professionals. Here we find açorda with cod, a Portuguese bread soup and other soups with bread.
But it is with Carlos Bento da Maia, edition of 1904, with the title “Complete Kitchen and Cup Treaty”, that the açordas appear as culinary confection and illustrated with eleven recipes, and doing well the separation of the many soups with bread.
But what is the reality of açordas in Portuguese cuisine? First we have the açorda / soup of which the Açorda Alentejana is the best example. Then the glorification of the açordas as a complete dish and the immense variety of recipes from the Douro, the entire Atlantic coast with fish and seafood, from Beira to Alentejo with cod, and the Alentejo with pork and sausages. We also have the concept of açorda as a garnish, or complement, of which we savor the excellent example with shad and respective roe açorda.
The authentic açorda is made with garlic, small slices of bread from the previous day soaked in very hot water, seasoned with raw oil, garlic, salt, and chopped coriander. There are variations where the açorda is finished with boiled or poached eggs, cod, hake and roasted sardines. Today, food from poor people, açorda is one of the best Portuguese soups.