Portuguese Cuisine – “Garoupa à Portuguesa”

My mother’s idea of a fish dinner had always been either tuna sandwiches or fish sticks. I didn’t find them terribly obnoxious, but I wouldn’t, as they say, wake up in the middle of the night yellin’ for them.  There just aren’t enough sauces to make up the lack of flavor when it comes to fish sticks. The best you could say about either of them is that they were a fast meal.

Continental Portugal has 586 miles of coast, and I am here to tell you that the the Portuguese know fish. I’ll admit that the first time I ordered fish in a restaurant, the eyes looking back at me took me aback. It’s just one of those things you have to get used to. But I kept a blind eye on the side of the market where the fish was sold.

Fate caught up with me, though. Our “Tia Lília” invited us to her home for a fish dinner. She was concerned that Harry was way too thin and she wanted to give me some cooking advice. Into the kitchen I went to watch her prepare a fish the likes I had never seen before. The body of it was kind of triangular and happily, it was dead. The first thing she did was teach me how to scale the fish, then followed it up with a demonstration of how to filet the fish. But she left the eyes on it.

While the fish was cooking, Tia put the finishing touches on the sopa da galinha  including adding the egg yolks that she had taken from the hen, and the chicken’s feet.  Portuguese bread, boiled potatoes, salad and fresh fruit completed the meal. And the fish? The best I had ever eaten. It was a dish that I made quite a few times once I got over the fish looking at me at the market.

Recipe for Portuguese Grouper:

Time: prep – about 10 minutes; Cooking time 30 minutes

6 small to medium groupers scaled and filleted.

1 pound of tomatoes, one medium sized onion, 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil, half a cup of dry white wine (or grape juice), a bunch of Italian parsley, salt and pepper to taste

Season the sliced onion, with salt and pepper and simmer over a low flame.. Add the tomatoes peeled and seeded. After ten minutes, add the white wine. Put this sauce in a pan that can be put in the oven and put the groupers on top. Cook in medium heat for about 20 minutes covering them occasionally with the sauce. When done, serve with chopped parsley to garnish.

Are you up for a fish dinner?


23 thoughts on “Portuguese Cuisine – “Garoupa à Portuguesa”

  1. I think the professor might feel the same way at first! I’m not a seafood person, but…in Portugal (or Florida) it might be different. It does sound good.

    😆 Obnoxious fish sticks was funny.


  2. Well, they /were/ obnoxious. Kind of like a conversation between DS and Ruber. They have NO flavor at all (which was why Mom liked them because she hated fish but my dad loved it so that was the compromise) unless you put tartar sauce or something on them.


  3. You had me till you got to the chicken feet – yeuch! I find I must leap to the defence of the fish stick though – known here as fish fingers (there, doesn’t that make them sound more interesting already?). Stuck on a lavishly buttered bread roll with ketchup – a meal fit for a king! 😉


    1. To be offered the chicken feet is an honor. I believe I’ve come across the term, fish fingers somewhere. I think I was spoiled from those years in Portugal. The only fish that make me smile are the fresh ones, and being the best restaurant in Florida is near the seaside. 😀 Thanks for coming by – I will get to your blog yet this week…it’s been a randomly busy week.


  4. I must admit, I am with the Professor. I am not much of a fish person, and if I saw fish eyes staring up at me from a plate, OMKATS I think I would be running to the bathroom.

    Obnoxious fish sticks….I love that, Susan! LOL I remember growing up and having those, and nope, I never dreamed of them.

    Shudder….chicken feet? Oh my. I must be spoiled or something. No thank you. xxoo, Amy


  5. She left the eyes in the fish. Oh my! I just saw The Hobbit and in one of the scenes he cooked a fish with head and all. I could not do it.


      1. I just can’t imagine cooking a fish with the head still on with those eyes staring at me. When I was little I remember my mother cutting off the head first and then gut and skin it. That’s probably why I don’t buy them whole I am still traumatized. ..lol


Comments are closed.