Are you curious about Portuguese cuisine? Let me give you a brief introduction that will whet your appetite. Although on the Atlantic, Portugal is highly influenced by the diet and lifestyle of the Mediterranean. Spices, herbs and olive oil are all essential parts of Portuguese cooking. Seafood is abundant and most restaurant menus offer dishes such as grilled sardines, octopus and cuttlefish. Grilled beef and roast suckling pig are also prevalent. Brazil, Africa, Hawaii, Japan and New England all take influence from the cuisine of Portugal.

As I was readying myself for travels to Portugal, I sought out ways to get to know the Portuguese cuisine a little better. Asking for recommendations through The Facebook group, Cookbook Junkies  the group members overwhelmingly recommended David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table. So, one more cookbook is added to the ever-growing collection of Mediterranean Cookbooks in my kitchen. You can never have too many recipes, or cookbooks!

The New Portuguese Table was a perfect pick for discovering Portuguese cooking. It is not only a recipe book. You’ll also enjoy a pleasurable gastronomic tour of Portugal. You’ll be treated to an extensive introduction to Portuguese ingredients and their uses in the cuisine. This cookbook takes you on a culinary journey, uncovering the range of foods of the 11 regions of Portugal. You’ll enjoy traditional recipes as well as new takes on the typical fare. These recipes showcase Leite’s inventive and creative flair and sense of fun in cooking. Yet, the recipes are easy to prepare for any home cook. Each recipe is enhanced with wonderful stories about the food and culture of Portugal. I consider this cookbook a great choice for both cooking and casual reading for a Portuguese food adventure!

Recipes are organized by broad food categories, such as little bites, soup, poultry and breads. So far, I have tried three recipes from the book and they all came out perfectly. The first recipe I tried was a traditional Caldo Verde or Green Soup. This is a traditional dish of Portugal, often described as the national dish. Fulfilling with potato and chorizo, yet also containing healthy ingredients such as kale, olive oil and garlic, this is a fabulous starter soup. With just 9 ingredients, you can pull this recipe together with ease. I also enjoyed the inventive Potato Skin Curls with Herbs recipe. This recipe offered an ideal treatment for those “cast-off” potato peels. Making a Spanish Tortilla? Use the potato skins for this recipe, which calls for deep frying the peels in oil and seasoning with your choice of herbs, salt and pepper. I switched it up slightly, by roasting instead of pan frying with very good results! Last, but not least, I tried the Skate with Leeks in Saffron Broth, which made for a rich and comforting entree. It’s an excellent dish for Sunday dinner or to impress guests. Once again, like most of the recipes in this cookbook, it was relatively easy to prepare. I am looking forward to trying many more recipes from The New Portuguese Table.

I also highly recommend David Leite’s webpage, Leite’s Culinaria. You’ll appreciate this resource for reliably delicious recipes and terrific food writings. You can also read his blog and connect by testing recipes and sharing photos of recipes that you have prepared from his recipe box. Also, he is always looking for recipe testers and other ways to connect with fans of Leite’s Culinaria.