EDITOR’S NOTE: When it comes to cuisine of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has been soaking up all the love. Adrià, Arzak, Berasategui — practically household names. But Portugal, too, is rich with comestibles, from acorn-eating pigs to port fit for kings. Stateside, chef George Mendes carries the torch of Portuguese cuisine at his Michelin-starred restaurant, Aldea, in New York City. Mendes, a first generation American with Portuguese parents, worked under some of the best chefs in Europe and America (including Berasategui) before opening Aldea in 2009. He shared this recipe and commentary for an avant-garde take on bacalhau à brás (salt cod with potatoes and eggs) from his forthcoming cookbook, My Portugal: Recipes and Stories. — Jeremy Berger
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup whole milk
1 fillet Basic Salt Cod (2 ounces)
3 ounces flaked kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fried shoestring potatoes
Siphon with two N20 charges
Fried Shoestring Potatoes (for Topping Bacalhau à Brás:
Canola oil as needed
1 small Yukon gold potato
1. Fill a small saucepan with oil to a depth of 2 inches. Bring to 375°F over medium-high heat. 2. While the oil heats, peel the potato, then cut into scant 1/16-inch slices. Cut each slice into scant 1/16-inch shoestring batons. Rinse well with cold water; otherwise, excess starch will cause them to clump when frying. Dry well on paper towels. 3. Add the potatoes in batches to the hot oil to fry until golden brown and crisp, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature and gently stirring to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two hours.
Preparing Bacalhau à Brás
VARIATION: Omit the eggshell step. Siphon the salt cod milk onto serving plates and top with the egg mixture and garnishes.
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