What seems to be becoming a regular community event at Caldo Verde in Proper Downton Los Angeles, Suzanne Goin and her partner Caroline Styne hosted Celebrating Portugal: The Cookbook Contributor Miguel Andrade at the restaurant for a chef-to-chef culinary discussion and a multi-course meal featuring recipes from the book.
Hosted by Goin and followed by a sit-down dinner, Andrade passionately discussed the history and evolution of Portuguese cuisine and the origins of the recipes in the book which are heavily composed of soups, green vegetables, beans, shellfish and pork, as well as the voyages and discoveries of the Portuguese. chef shared with Goin and Styne in anticipation of the opening of Caldo Verde.
“Everyone seems to connect Portugal with Mediterranean countries,” Andrade told the delighted crowd as they sipped Portuguese highballs and wines. “But, in fact, Portugal is not on the Mediterranean Sea, we are on the Atlantic, and our cuisine reflects that and differentiates it from Spain, Italy or Greece. Atlantic waters are much colder and choppier, which makes our seafood even better. On the other hand, because we were on the edge of Europe in the shadow of Spain, we had no links with other countries and originally there were fewer vegetables. So we crossed the Atlantic to broaden our culinary horizons in Africa and Asia.
These origins were represented in the 10 dishes Goin prepared from the book, including battered green beans and asparagus, grilled sardines with potatoes and peppers, baked fava beans, octopus stew, creamy rice with cod, corn porridge and Venus clams with sausage, Portuguese pork. and bean stew as well as shellfish bread porridge, a dish from the country‘s poor beginnings. For dessert there was a soft Alfeizerao sponge cake with strawberries and a delicate orange flan with Madeira. The stewed beans will likely find a permanent place on Caldo Verde’s menu, a nod to fond memories of Andrade and their Portuguese adventures.
“I drove the kitchen crazy with all these dishes,” says Goin THE weekly at last week’s event. “There are so many great recipes in this book, I just couldn’t narrow it down.”
The de Goin family led by her husband and colleague David Lentz, former colleague of Chez Panisse and current chef of Lulu, David Akasha Richmond of Tanis and Akasha. Also in attendance was Ken Concepcion of LA’s beloved cookbook shop Now in service, where the book is currently sold.