Frango Assado in Oporto
One of our favorite meals in Portugal is Frango Assado. We’ve never been disappointed by one of these platters of marinated and grilled chicken, served with fries and mixed green salad, washed down with a cold Sagres beer. (Of course, eating this on a hot sunny day just doubles the pleasure!!) Portuguese birds are smaller than their American counterparts, and grill up to a succulent finish like nobody’s business. Don’t leave Portugal without stopping in at one of these humble establishments; look for a hand painted sign reading ‘Frango Assado’ or ‘Churrecaria’. Inside will be a huge grill covered with sizzling chickens cooking over flames. Here, you’ll be rewarded with great flavor and very cheap prices.
If you’re not traveling to Portugal in the near future, you can replicate Frango Assado at home. We carry Sagres Portuguese beer ($10.99 per six pack) and now have Sagres beer steins ($6.99) and schooners ($4.99).
Here is our recipe for Frango Assado, from The Spanish Table Cookbook: (Serves 4)
Each bird is butterflied and marinated in piri piri pepper sauce, then roasted over coals that crisp the sauce-saturated skin while leaving the meat moist and succulent. It is appropriate that we associate this dish so closely with Portugal because the folk art symbol of Portugal is a rooster and gallo logos are everywhere.
1 Chicken, cut into halves or quarters
1 tablespoon Course sea salt
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Hot smoked pimentón
¼ cup Piri piri Sauce
¼ cup Olive oil
Put the salt in a mortar and add garlic. Mash together, then grind in pimentón.
Smoosh in the piri piri followed by the olive oil. You should now have a nice paste.
Using a brush, coat chicken on all sides. Refrigerate for 24 hours then grill or bake at 450º for 45 minutes to one hour.
2007 Calma Rioja ($14.99) Calma Rioja reveals spice, cherry and cigar box aromas on the nose. Made in a traditional Rioja style, it displays tasty cherry and berry fruit, mixed with spice and dusty earth. With silky, ripe tannins and excellent persistence, this food friendly red is a great match for cured meats or rice dishes.
2008 Valle Azul Cabernet Sauvignon, Rio Negro Patagonia ($14.99) Cabernet is the second most widely planted grape in Argentina, after Malbec. Valle Azul Cabernet from Patagonia has a delicious dusty edge to its ripe black and red fruit and a lengthy finish with minerals. Winemaker Hans Vindig-Diers produces Noemia (the 2008 vintage received a 95 point score from Wine Spectator and sells for $105.00 if you can find it); Hans trained in Bordeaux and a group of Rio Negro vintners asked him to turn their fruit into wines that would show all of its potential. “A floral-style Cab, with bright cherry and red plum notes laced with hints of violet and roasted vanilla. Nice supple finish. Drink now. 250 cases made.” 87 points Wine Spectator
2007 Viña Sastre Crianza, Ribera del Duero ($35.00) From the highest elevation vineyards in Ribera del Duero, this vineyard sometimes supplies fruit to Vega Sicilia. Fermented with native yeast and aged 12 months in new French oak, this is a harmonious wine with elegance and nuance. “Complex, seductively perfumed nose melds raspberry, cherry-cola, Asian spices and dark chocolate. Dense, sappy and focused, with allspice, vanilla and mineral tones to go with the powerful red fruit. Finishes with broad, palate-dusting tannins and excellent persistence. Owner Jesus Sastre told me that he wasn’t crazy for 2007 so [he made only] one wine: all the Pago de Santa Cruz and Pesus juice is in here. It shows.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer
2007 Marc Ripoll Sans Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat ($19.99) “A village appellation wine from Priorat, the 2007 Black Slate is a blend of 46% Garnacha, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Carinena, Merlot and Syrah aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Purple-colored with an expressive bouquet of slate/mineral, Asian spices, mocha, and black cherry, on the palate it is loaded with succulent fruit, has superb concentration, and exceptional length. It has the structure to evolve for 1-2 years although it can be enjoyed now. It may be the finest value in quality Priorat in the market.” 91 points Wine Advocate
2007 Roquers de Porrera Priorat ($40.00) rice! “The 2007 Roquers de Porrera is composed of 80% Garnacha and Carinena with the balance Merlot and Syrah aged for 16 months in 50% new French oak. Aromas of wet stone, licorice, underbrush, black cherry and plum lead to a silky-textured, elegant yet powerful expression of Priorat. Incipiently complex, it will benefit from another 2-3 years of bottle age and offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2022.” 93 points Wine Advocate
NEW ITEMS & PRODUCTS BACK IN STOCK
A steady stream of new products have been rolling in the door for the last couple of weeks! We’ve restocked the round wooden plates used for serving Pulpo A La Gallego (stewed octopus served on slices of boiled potato with paprika). We’ve had many requests for the “Vuelve Tortilla” pedestal plates – now we have them in wood, 20 cm and 30 cm size. Handmade potholders from Panama, made by Kuna Indians in colorful bird and flower patterns. Great for housewarming gifts or just to brighten up your own kitchen!
Our first shipment of Turron is now in! We’ve got Casa Real, Delaviuda, 1880, and El Lobo brands; Blando, duro and Yema Tostada styles. More is on the way…
Hand painted ceramic Portuguese rooster bottle stoppers and large boxes of Maria crackers are back in stock.
We still have Padron Peppers – a fresh shipment arrived yesterday. Sadly, with colder weather, the pepper season will not last much longer, so get them while you can!
Don’t miss the opportunity to see the performers from Madrid’s Casa Patas flamenco tablao. They performed in Benaroya Hall last weekend, and will be at Taberna del Alarbardero for four nights starting today. They are absolutely phenomenal! Contact Taberna del Alarbardero for information: 206.448.8884.