I have always been swayed by the salty rather than the sweet— and my goodness, does Portugal offer some tasty salty snacks! Meet three of my favourites:
Pastéis de bacalhau e ginjinha– that's codfish cakes and a spot of cherry liqueur. Next to preserving and pickling, the next best thing to do with a fish is to make a cake out of it. Ok, I exaggerate— I love fish in all forms of culinary creativity, but there is something so satisfying in a fishcake. The traditional ginjinha is a wonderful touch, something I could thoroughly enjoy on a regular basis.
And now my friends, behold the bifana:
A heap of tender pork steak, dripping flavour into its humble bun, mustard flowing carelessly over the mounds... Oh yes....
Lately I find myself craving bifanas— but in a country where pork is hard to come by without busting your wallet or trekking to some mysterious Armenian butcher shop, all I have are memories and a groaning belly.
Clockwise from the top in this lovely little box of goodies, we have fine examples of rissóis de leitão, rissóis de camarão, and pastéis de bacalhau— that's a pastry with piglet, a fried turnover with shrimp, and the omnipresent codfish cake. Though I intensely loved every crumb of all three snacks, only one them sprouted the roots of an obsession within me: the rissóis de camarão. The dough was delightfully crispy with the creamiest shrimp filling— so sweet and... shrimpy? I found myself casually seeking them out behind every glass counter, even indulging in its lesser airport version.
I must learn to make them...