The cooking traveler: Portugal


Who says that we can only be in one place at a time? Feeling the need to find a comfort zone in a foreign country, student Ilaria Corti, from Italy, talks about origins and traditions with other international students. All of this over a nice meal from their home country. This time, she 'visits' Portugal with her roommates Andreo and Renato.

Saudade is a Portuguese term with an untranslatable meaning and I am really amazed by the fact that the history of a country could rise such a unique concept. We can say that it is connected to a deep feeling of longing for something or someone that is missing. I am not sure if my two flatmates, Andreo and Renato, have saudade for their country, but it is clear that they were able to bring a piece of Portugal into our flat for one night.

Renato comes from Porto, one of the main cities in the north, and Andreo from the region of Algarve, in the extreme south. They seem to have grown up in two different countries when telling about home, even if they both feel very Portuguese. Of course Andreo is a fish lover, getting shocked by the Dutch prices every time he tries to buy some at the market here. Algarve is a very convenient place when it comes to seafood and that’s good because it is not a rich region, except for the foreign-made areas. There, wealthy people from outside the region come to buy houses and live under the seaside sun for most of the year.

This is how the result should look, very appealing!

In the north of Portugal, meat is much more popular and also wine is a big thing. Renato, with a smile on his face, says that Porto is best place to stay in Portugal, and he is not the only one, since the city was nominated Best European Destination in 2017. It is also a typical dish from Porto, Francesinha, that my two flatmates decided to prepare for our Portuguese dinner. Francesinha is a kind of thick sandwich and could look like a street food, but it is popular all over the country and it is prepared in restaurants both for lunch and dinner. The main ingredients are meat, the Portuguese spice mix piri-piri and a sauce made, of course, with Porto wine. The translation of Francesinha would be ‘french woman’, and apparently that’s because the inventor of this dish considered french girls very ‘spicy’.

This is the recipe for 2 people:





For the filling:


6 slices of bread
8 slices of cheese, for example gouda
2 thin cow steaks
2 fresh sausages
2 slices of ham
2 eggs
Salt and pepper


For the Porto wine sauce:


1 onion
4 dl of beer
3 spoons of tomato sauce
0,5 dl of Brandy
0,5 dl of Porto wine
1 spoon of butter
1 spoon of maizena flour
1 stock cube
1 bay leaf
Some piri-piri
Salt and pepper



Grill the meat with some pepper and salt without cooking it completely, because it will then go into the oven. Toast the bread and make 3 layers with the slices, in every layer put one type of meat and put 4 slices of cheese on top. Switch on the oven at 200 C°. To make the sauce, finely chop the onions, put the butter to melt into a tall pot and fry the onions with the leaf of bay. Then add the tomato sauce, let it fry a few minutes and then add the beer, the Brandy and the Porto. Let it boil until is quite thick and then add the stock cube, and the maizena. Just at the end, add the piri-piri. When also the sauce is ready, put the filled bread into the oven, until the cheese on the top is melted. In the meanwhile fry the eggs with some salt and pepper. When the bread is ready, take it out from the oven, spill over some sauce and finish with a fried egg on the top.
Generally the dish is sided with french fries, which we made ourself.



Have a good dinner!

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