Portuguese Rice with Salt Cod

Lisbon is yet another destination high on my travel bucket list. Between the hustle and bustle of the city and the beachy cool of Cascais, Lisbon sounds like a foodie paradise with a bit of gothic grit and glamour thrown in. One of my favourite travel blogs recommended you; “go with bright eyes and an empty stomach” because you’ll be spoilt for choice between the gourmet seafood markets, the vibrant bakeries and countless corner tavernas. Sounds perfect to me already but throw in a warm sea, scenic views from the surrounding mountains, historical sights and some fantastic nightlife and I am 100% in. My boyfriend Dan used to go as a child and his favourite things seem to be Pasteis de Natas (iconic sweet custard tarts), chocolate mousse and Arroz de Bacalhau, a rice dish flavoured with sweet tomato and salt cod, a staple of the coastal region. This was my first go but so so tasty! Very simple to make, much like a Spanish paella but the lack of spices lets the cod flavour really shine through. I’e consulted Dan and looked at loads of Portuguese recipes and this is a tasty, authentic version!

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Arroz com Bacalhau

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2-3 large cod loins (or any sustainably-caught white fish), pre-soaked
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes peeled and seeded diced
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • White wine to taste (approx 70ml)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 250g medium/long grain rice (e.g. basmati)
  • 1 fish or vegetable stock cube
  • Chopped coriander

Method

In a large saucepan, boil the cod fillets with a good pinch of salt in 2 parts water to 1 part milk over a medium heat for approximately 15 minutes. Once cooked through, drain off the liquid into a measuring jug and allow the cod fillets to cool before shedding.

In a large frying or paella pan, add the olive oil and heat over a high flame. Add the chopped tomatoes, diced onion and spring onions, and after a few minutes add the garlic. Allow the onion to soften and the tomatoes to break down a little before adding the paprika to absorb some oil and infuse the vegetables with smokey flavour.

Next add the flaked cod, and saute for 3 minutes before adding the rice to the frying pan, as you would a paella. Mix well and allow the rice to absorb any oil and juices from the cod. Add a stock cube and a splash of wine to the cooking liquid from earlier and stir well. Add enough water to just cover the rice and leave to simmer. Keep adding a little liquid at a time until the rice is cooked through (approximately 20 mins but depends on your rice). Season to taste, scatter with lots of coriander and serve with a zesty side salad.

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