O almoço Algarvia com um imprevisto, laranjas frescas e brownies salgados

Awaiting the arrival of the guests
The table is set
Some wine is coiffed

The tuna is served
The temperature is rising again.An end of summer heatwave and the arrival date of the first rain remains unknown.Yesterday Casa Rosada was party to an Algarvian lunch with a difference.Eating a Portuguese lunch of the freshest grilled fish with your bare feet on a carpet of white salt while your chair slowly sinks into the salt and the soil bed of the salt pan beneath it is a once in a lifetime experience.If this wasn´t Portugal what is? Imagine having a picnic in the snow but the sun is beating down and the snow never melts.The occasion was to introduce and promote the Castro Marim Sapal and Salmarim´s traditional and artesan method of salt production to  a group of international journalists from an  association based in Lisbon.We all contributed to making this alternative and unusual lunch something special.The President of the Camara declined an invitation on the grounds it was something that was impossible to instigate.We pressed on regardless.Ristorante Manuel Dágua cooked the most delicious sardines,eaten with the freshest local bread to mop up the oily juices from the fish, and the most delicious fresh salada picada.This was followed by grilled anchova and tarantello, an unusual cut of tuna from the side of the rib cage.I have to mention too the patatas cozido (boiled potatoes) which were so perfectly cooked that you could just peel the skin away with your fingernail.The meal was all washed down with the finest Algarvian wine from Quinta do Barranco Longo served by its creator Rui Virginia, who offered  a chardonnay varietal, oaked Rose and a new vinho tinto reserva.Finally I had to pull the legs of my chair from their firm anchor in the salt pan and propel myself towards the coolth of the armazen ( warehouse )where I had left my previously prepared salt caramel chocolate brownies and rustle up another quick dessert with fresh oranges supplied by Frusoal.My inspiration here came from a recipe originally conceived specially for Salmarim by Chef Henrique Pessoa of Restaurant Assinatura in Lisboa.Its called "Spiced oranges like our grannies made"and Chef Pessoa suggests it can be served as a garnish for grilled or roasted meat or fish, but I had something else in mind so taking this as my  inspiration I removed the garlic cloves, oregano and olive oil from the recipe and kept the salt and fresh thyme to create a refreshing after meal refresher.For those of you in England you might see it as a post modern half-time refreshment.

"Spiced oranges like our grannies made"
4 large oranges (laranjas) thinly sliced( fatiado fino)
Flor de sal salmarim Aromatica
Fresh sprigs of Thyme (raminhos de tomilho)
Thinly slice the oranges in rounds.Lay overlapping on a large platter, sprinkle with Flor de sal aromatica and thyme 

Here´s to yesterday´s lunch and all tomorrow´s parties


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