Portuguese cuisine has captivated the Hexagon, including the 1.5 million people of Portuguese descent who now live in France. I wear them, les cream cakes, sardines, cod… make more than one salivate. France is even the second largest consumer of Portuguese products, behind Brazil.
On Tuesday 31 May from 9pm, France 5 we offer a discovery of this traditional cuisine. And it does not fail to warn us about the risks of loss of authenticity posed by the rise of this “trendy gastronomy”.
Cod in perdition
We first travel to the north of Portugal, in the Minho region, in search of the best Portuguese cod, the national dish. In the village of Povoa de Lanhoso, a restaurateur delivers his secrets: a cod that has remained in the salt for 13 months, because “the more it has matured, the tastier it is, the more creamy it is”, and then desalted by soaking it for 48 hours. cold water. It is then cooked for about twenty minutes over a traditional wood fire before being tasted.
If this recipe has proven successful, it is rare today to find cod that has been respected. Industrialization is wreaking havoc.
Previously, fishing for cod (cod is nothing more than salted and dried cod) took six months. Time to travel to the Canadian coast. The fisherman was fishing from a small boat, before getting the fish back on the boat, which was then salted and dried on the spot before being brought back to Portugal.
Now the fish is caught in the net and the fish is frozen on board the vessel. Once in Portugal, it is thawed and salted. A method that is more expensive to the consumer from a financial point of view can also be harmful to health. In the stores sold in large stores in France, many additives are added. According to the European Food Safety Agency, they are likely to cause cardiovascular disease.
The secret recipe for nata cakes
The famous ones cream cakes are another Portuguese culinary tradition known to all. These petits flans sucrés are produced in a car in Lisbon, near the Héronimites Monastery. Their recipe, inherited from the monks, is kept secret.
However, you have no doubt noticed that they are now present in most French pastries. If pastry chefs often say they made it homemade, it really wouldn’t be. 95% of cream cakes sold in France would in fact be industrial pastry. How to recognize cakes industrial? They are bright yellow in color, their dough is soft and they taste very sweet.
The only way to escape is to make them yourself. Thanks to Jacinta Coevoet, a French-Portuguese woman who lives in Lille and has a Portuguese recipe book provided by her mother, France 5 has managed to get the recipe. To find out, you have to watch the show tonight … A clue? “Portuguese cuisine is often very simple,” Jacinta smiled.
“Cuisine portugaise: Pasteis ou Pastiches”, from Tuesday, May 31, 2022 in France 5, at 9 p.m.