Monday, February 27, 2023

Two Portuguese Chowhounding Shots

Two Portuguese chowhounding shots, one visceral but relatively easy, the other subtle and elite difficulty.

First is a traditional cozido à Portuguesa of boiled meats with cabbage, eaten winter months only, and heavenly proof that “boiled” does not mean “boring”. This is, surreally, ordered from a fish restaurant where the mother of the owner does this once per week, waking up at 3am to cook it. It's as good as it gets - the best version my friends and I have ever found. Mom was in an accident a few months ago, and said she'd never make cozido again, but it popped up by surprise yesterday and we dashed to the restaurant.

That was the relatively easy one.

Second features two slices of the famous "broa" cornbread. In America, you ask for "broa", and it's a thing, but in Portugal, "broa" is a class of things, so you say "broa de milho". This was from a very obscure bakery even locals don't know about, which requires twisty driving around an industrial park to even find. The fifth generation baker diligently follows antique recipes. Everything is fantastic.

In that same photo, the egg (green shell, from rare chickens with black foot feathers) is from a farm run by two octogenerians, a woman who's got more energy than anyone you've ever met, and her slightly older husband who looks ready for some time off. They have an operation growing dozens of varieties of different fruits, as she breathlessly showed me on her smart phone after we met haphazardly at the fish restaurant serving the cozido (they, at the next table, had ordered fish, and we insisted on sharing the cozido which they were eying, and they went on a 25 minute breathless phone tour of their fruit farm). She and he do everything themselves (and are facing the inevitable Portuguese problem of the younger generation uninterested in buying or even taking it on for free). She has immaculate fingernails, btw.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I followed up, tracked down their fruit operation via the vaguest of clues, and bought tangerines and avocados and a cactus and some eggs.

So here's that cornbread with one of those eggs (sublime, naturally). Easy-peasy, no?

1 comment:

Ivan said...

Broa is one of the worlds great breads. Hard to find in NYC. Never knew it was more than one. Thanks

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