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Peixe In Portugal: The Numerous and Delicious Varieties of Portuguese Fish

Peixe In Portugal: The Numerous and Delicious Varieties of Portuguese Fish

In my very first article with Catavino, I described an amazing experience lunching on fresh grilled fish along the Portuguese coast, an event I eagerly anticipated for weeks. Today, almost two years after writing that article, I can still say that I dine out on peixe grelhado every weekend, and I look forward to it as much, if not more, than I did before. Clearly, I was hooked from the start!

The concept of grilling fresh fish whole in sea salt is a foreign concept to many of us in the States. Culturally, most North Americans have been brainwashed to cringe at the thought of eating anything that looks like it did when it was alive, fish included. But once you eat a fish in its entirety, like we do every weekend here in Portugal, it will be difficult to want it any other way!

Hence, I took some time to delve into the Portuguese fish culture, beginning with a local fisherman mending his nets. On a Sunday trip to the coastal city of Setúbal, I spent over an hour chatting with Carlos Manuel Jorge Cardoso, who has fished the high seas for over 50 years; a concept I can’t even imagine.

In my next article, I’ll share some of the highlights of the interview; but for now, I have included a list of common fish terms found in restaurants throughout Portugal.

Below are some of most common fresh fish found in Portuguese waters. The fish are divided by intensity of flavor, and the number of stars correlates to price (cheap*, affordable**, expensive***):

Mild:

Medium:

Intense:

Fish you may be more familiar with:

Now that you know a lot more about Portuguese fish, are you ready to try some? In the near future, I’ll be posting an article on some common grilled fish recipes, interesting fish tips from our fisherman friend Carlos, and some wine suggestions to pair with Portuguese grilled fish. So stay tuned 🙂

To Peixe,

Andrea Smith

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