David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table is quick to point out that these Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Wafers are not typical of Portuguese cuisine. What they are is an inspired riff on a biscoito, a dunking cookie similar to biscotti. By adding olive-cured olives and lemon zest, Leite has created a flavor complexity with sweet-savory qualities that simple, home-baked cookies rarely attain.
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While perusing the seafood chapter of David Leite's The New Portuguese Table I have to say that this recipe for Curried Mussels had me scratching my head. What does curry have to do with Portuguese cooking? According to Leite, curry has had a place in Portuguese cuisine for over 500 years dating back to bearded explorer Vasco de Gama's first voyage to the East. The spices that de Gama brought back from India made their way into Portuguese cuisine.
Lately infusing my own spirits has become something of an obsession, and I have a big enough collection of bottles filled with fruits, herbs, and spices sitting under my sink to prove it. So when I came across this somewhat strange recipe for Milk Liqueur from the Azores in David Leite's The New Portuguese Table there was no way that I wasn't going to try it.
After frying up a batch of these Fried Stuffed Olives from David Leite's The New Portuguese Table, I hereby nominate them for a place in the bar snack hall of fame. Olives, cheese, cured pork, and roasted almonds make appearances at the cocktail hour spread, but not enough like this. Stuffing the juicy green olives with all the savory components leads to fantastic results but, breading and frying them after they've been stuffed? They might just be one of the best things that I've ever eaten before dinner.
These Portuguese-Russian from The New Portuguese Table by David Leite cakes are gorgeous. Toasted, ground walnuts and almonds are incorporated into the clove scented batter, and then lightened with whipped egg whites. Once the cake is baked and cooled it is topped with a pristine layer of vanilla butter cream, sprinkled with more ground nuts and then sliced into perfect little squares. For an added layer of flavor you can spread the cakes with bitter orange marmalade before topping them with the buttercream.
We're going to share a week's worth of recipes from David Leite's The New Portuguese Table, traveling through the country's 11 provinces and learning all about their distinctly Mediterranean cuisine. Even if you aren't familiar with Portuguese food, chances are you already know David Leite. As a contributor to virtually every food media outlet out there, winner of multiple James Beard awards, and founder of his namesake website Leite's Culinaria, Leite has taken it upon himself to share the cuisine of Portugal.