There are many fishing ports on the Algarve coast, and so in the kitchen the fresh fish and seafood are dominating. Santa Luzia – octopus capital, is supplying nearby towns with fresh octopus.
In Algarve with daily fishing trips bringing in huge amounts of tuna, sole, swordfish, bream and sardines and seafood: prawns, octopus, crabs, kalmary, clams, oysters, crayfish, squid.
In the Portuguese kitchen the garlic is essential and used very often to many dishes. Piri-piri ( red hot chilli pepper sauce) is also very popular spice.
The best of Portuguese food is prepared with simple cooking methods, and strongly reflects its region and proud past. The Portuguese food is simple and excellent.
The most typical regional dish is being prepared from dried, salted codfish bacalhau, what tastes much, much better than it sounds.
You will not understand Portugal unless you partake of bacalhau, and unless you fall instantly and irretrievably in love with it you can never say you’ve truly been there. It is bound up with myth, history and mealtimes, including everyday meals and the most important celebrations on the calendar, in daily life and how many ways there are to cook it. Every day is good day for bacalhau and it seems there is at least one recipe for every day of the year. The owner of the restaurant in Santa Luzia says that he has at his disposal a numer of 1000 recipes for preparing cod.
Cataplana is Algarvian speciality. The name derives from the resembling cooper dish, a sealed clam shaped vesse (cataplana). The lid closed tightly prevents the leakage of tastes and aromas of dishes. Dishes are being served to the table in this pot what additionally lets hold back big temperature of the dish. The best cataplanas are prepared from the seafood and combination of fish with peppers, potatoes or rice, cooked in wine, garlic and herbs.