When we are staying at our villa in Portugal over the winter time the weather in the Algarve is warm and sunny in the day time and in the evenings, although the temperature drops to between 6 and 12 deg C its still warm enough to be outside in a fleece. A perfect climate to enjoy a BBQ at any time of day.
I love to BBQ, I don’t need an excuse so at about 7.00pm I get started, it is so quiet only the hooting of owls disturbs the silence. The view to the coast has taken on a new dimension, a myriad of twinkling lights laid out like a carpet along the coast line, quite awesome! I fire up the BBQ with Charcoal, for me there is no other way, charcoal adds greatly to the flavour of any meat or fish, propane just does not do it. A good friend of mine in Canada says that propane is better and that charcoal is carcinogenic, I cannot agree, how can a man made refined oil product be better than a natural product? I asked him how would Jesus have cooked his fish, Charcoal or Propane, argument over! Seriously though the Mediterranean folks have been cooking over Charcoal since time immemorial and still do, the majority of restaurants in Monchique, Algarve and Portugal are in fact Churrasqueiras (Barbecues, cooking over charcoal) and the Portuguese live to a ripe old age, they are not dropping like flies!
BBQ recipes are endless but on our Villa Vida Nova Blog I will from time to time write up which I think are best suited to Portuguese produce, the Algarvian Climate, the holiday mood and of course which ones I like!
The photos show Dourada, (one per person size), a local fish with white soft delicately flavoured flesh, found on all fish counters in Portugal. It will come cleaned for you, all you need to do is rinse the fish, cut 3 diagonal cuts through to the bone, (see top picture) rub some coarse sea salt into the cuts, a little ground white pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You will seen in the bottom two photos the fish are sandwiched in a cleaned hinged BBQ griddle, this simply makes turning the fish far easier without them falling apart. To clean the griddle let it burn in the hot coals for 5 minutes then brush it with a wire brush. Let it cool then brush the cleaned griddle with a little olive oil so that the fishes skin does not stick to it or you can brush the fish with olive oil, either way is good. Cook over medium coals for 5-10 minutes depending on heat and size of fish. Look into the cuts and you will see when the flesh is cooked through to the bone, don’t over cook, slightly underdone is better than overdone.
Read what Andrea Smith of Catavino has to say about Fish In Portugal