Sunday, 19 July 2015

Pudim de peixe,pão renascido e críticos acerbos

salmão em um domingo de verão

Fish puddings used to be popular in Portugal, and the country has a history of bread puddings. England too. My grandmother and mother alike used to make wonderful fish puddings.
I can already imagine what you are thinking and see your  expressions of doubt, and disbelief ... "This" is edible? Fish, pudding, gelatin maybe? perhaps,perhaps,perhaps.
Scout's honour: it's wonderful! Apart from that it´s so easy, and a great way to use up all that left over bread that one accumulates on a daily base in Portugal.Well as you know I am one for delving deep into the Portuguese archives and retrieving some forgotten gems to reinvent.
This is what Algarvian restaurants should be doing too.There is a whole wealth of recipes hidden away from Portugal´s culinary past and if more chefs brought these back to life there would be less fuel for the halitosis tongues of  critics like Giles Coren and AA Gill.

‘The food in Portuguese hotels is never Portuguese. People are on holiday. It just wouldn’t be fair’
Portuguese cooking is the worst on earth. Or, at least, the worst of any warm nation on earth. Obviously, Irish cooking could give it a run. Or Polish. But in its leaden, oversalted blandness, the cuisine of Portugal is, at best, what English cooking would be if we had better weather. 
Giles Coren

I'm sure if you're born to it, it reminds you of your grandmother's beard and your mother's mop bucket. Portuguese food is heaven if you're Portuguese. 
AA Gill

I've never been to Portugal, so my prejudices about the salty Iberian appendix are unsullied and uncorrupted by acquaintance. It is with a disinterested authority, therefore, that I can say Portugal is Belgium for golfers, a place so forgettable that the rest of us haven't even bothered to think up a rude nickname for it.
AA Gill

In gallant little Portugal, the food is well meaning and pretty dreadful. And before you say anything, no, I've never had it well made, because I've never found anyone who can be bothered to make it. Salt cod, of course, can be fantastic, but one swallow doesn't make a cuisine. Then there are all those things made with chickpeas. 
The Portuguese are very fond of pulses, bobbing like buoys in soups of old fatty fat. 
AA Gill

These harsh and misdirected words bring to mind Portugal´s very own controversial and outspoken journalist Henrique Raposo,never one to miss a chance for criticising his own people.Well lets forget about these literary renegades and get back to showing them what quality meals can come out of Portugal when one puts ones mind to it.The original recipe I unearthed is from an old family recipe of one Maria Isabel Raposo of the Ribatejo.What a jewel I had found.This is the perfect dish for a summer Sunday lunch or dinner.Its light and yet beautifully textured.You can prepare it in advance ( up to two days).You can embelish it with vegetables, various types of fish and different seasonings.What´s more, you have born again bread.
Pudim de peixe com tres Molhos
Portuguese Fish Pudding with 3 sauces 
Recipe adapted from the book North Atlantic seafood by Alan Davidson 
and  an Algarvian version of the recipe recipe in Cozinha Algarvia  by Alfredo Saramago.There was no indication of what the three sauces were, apart from the fact that they were red, green and mayonnaise.Plenty of room there then for my modern interpretation of the three sauces, which was to serve wasabi mayonnaise, a tomato sauce with anchovy, and an avocado salsa.

350g, cooked flaked salmon
2 fresh bay leaves
12 peppercorns
3 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion chopped
a few sprigs of parsley,chopped
1/4 pint (150ml) white wine
150g day old bread,crust removed and torn into pieces
2 cups of milk and water mixed 50/50
2 eggs separated
a little butter
Flor de sal and cracked black pepper
Put the 2 cups of milk and water, the wine,bay leaves and peppercorns into a shallow frying pan and bring to the boil.Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat.Place the fish in the stock and cover with a lid for 20 minutes.When cooked and cool,remove the fish and flake it removing any bones there may be.Set aside.Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve and retain in a jug.Put the torn up bread into a bowl and pour the strained stock over it.Leave to soak.In the same pan heat the oil and gently fry the onion until golden and soft.Add the parsley, fish, salt and pepper stir well to mix and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring all the time.Now add the egg yolks to the bread mixture and mix in well,add the fish mixture and beat all together to a smooth consistency (this can be achieved in a food processor)Fold in the egg whites,beaten to stiff peaks.Pour the mixture into a buttered loaf pan lined with greaseproof parchment and smooth it with a spatula.Fold the excess parchment over the top of the mixture and bake in a moderate oven 180C for about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.When cold,move it to the refrigerator and store until ready to use.When ready to serve.Carefully turn the pudding out onto arectngular seving dish or board and cut into thick slices.Serve with a salad of your choice and the three sauces on the side.

FOR THE SAUCES

WASABI MAYO - mix together
 4 teaspoons powdered wasabi mixed with 1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1 cup home made mayonnaise

RED SAUCE - mix together 
3 vine ripened tomatoes skinned deseeded and finely chopped
3 Anchovies finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice ( approx. 2 limes)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped


GREEN SAUCE - mix together
1 ripe avocado
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup coriander
1 cup basil leaves
2" cube of ginger peeled and chopped
half a cup of dry roasted peanuts
half a cup of freshly squeezed lime juice ( approx. 2 limes )
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste


For another take on fish pudding try this one
http://elvirabistrot.blogspot.pt/2010/05/pudim-de-peixe-moda-do-joao-4-por-6.html

 

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