Thursday, June 9, 2016

Try the World Box: Portugal

Our second Try the World box contained treats from Portugal. Let's start with the before and after:

Everything in the box was delicious, but the whole box was a bit less coherent than the Thai box. There wasn't quite as clear a meal plan for a single Portuguese experience. The second picture above shows everything in the box, but features the mackerel and cod dishes we had for dinner. We started with mackerel on toast and finished with a Portuguese bacalhau. Bacalhau means cod, usually salt cod, but also appears to refer to any dish made with cod.

Our bacalhau was a breadcrumb crusted cod broiled with tomatoes and collards. We used fresh cod instead of salt cod. The recipe also called for chorizo but we substituted some ham we had on hand. The only thing from the box in the dish was a drizzle of olive oil and a small amount of the codfish seasoning.

The dish was a good cod dish, but the flavors were familiarly New England. Gail and I talked about the similarity of geography and latitude between Portugal and Boston, which made the flavor similarities seem natural to us. We used these three ingredients from the box for the dinner dishes:

Hands on Earth Codfish Seasoning - This seasoned the cod dish wonderfully, and I think we will use it again. I don't know what was in it, and that's too bad, because we won't know how to make more from our own spices when we want to.

Olivais do Sul Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - a nice medium bodied olive oil. This oil is good for dipping, but not too spicy for less adventurous tastes.

Briosa Gourmet Canned Jack Mackerel - Putting these plump mackerel filets on lightly oiled toast was a simple and delicious appetizer. I typically get smoked mackerel, but I loved them just as well unsmoked. I would happily get these again.

The box also had a number of items that were mostly for use singly:

It Apple and Cinnamon Black Tea - We made this into a refreshing iced tea. We both wish we had more.

Casa Lucena Lemon Cookies - This is a traditional Portuguese cookie, that I can best describe as Nilla Wafers with lemon flavor. I love Nilla Wafers. Nabisco should make them with lemon flavor like this.

Frutaformas Crunchy Apple Rings - These were very dehydrated apple slices. They were good, but nothing more than dried apple slices.

RARE by Quinta de Jugais Rocha Pear & Port Jam - This was one of the highlights of the box. We had this jam spread on a simple slices of bread. The pear flavor was not overly sweet. While I barely tasted port wine, the overall effect was a delicate jam that I could eat and eat without being overwhelmed by sweetness.

Paladin Piri-Piri Hot Sauce - This was another highlight. This pepper sauce had both a nice flavor and decent kick of heat. Unusually, though, the heat dissipates quickly so it doesn't feel scary to use it liberally. This is a great alternative to Sriracha or Tabasco.

Bottom line on this box: we enjoyed everything in it, but would have like a little more coherent curation and recipe suggestions like in the Thai box.

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