A magical stew

RBD_raia low resolution
Raia, Rui Barreiros Duarte, ink on paper, 2013.

All southern European countries have their own fisherman’s stew. In Portugal, this classic dish is called caldeirada (pronounced “qaldeirahda”). It’s an appropriate name, since caldeira means caldron, a pot used in alchemy. When you combine fish, vegetables, and white wine, the result is indeed magical.

You can use different fish varieties, but the star of the caldeirada is the manta ray. Its delicious white flesh combines perfectly with the rich stock.

The best places to eat caldeirada are near the ocean because this dish requires the freshest fish. According to Marcel Pagnol, the French writer born in Marseille, the secret of the fisherman’s stew is to put the fish in the pot while their tails are still moving. If you’re near the Portuguese coast, don’t miss a chance to eat a memorable caldeirada.

5 thoughts on “A magical stew

  1. Years ago, the place to eat it near Lisbon was Ericeira, but I have always enjoyed it across the river at Caparica, where I grew up! Alas the best restaurant is now gone, taken over by an emporium I would not care to name… but there are a couple of good places in nearby Trafaria and you cannot go wrong with Setubal for fish. I cook caldeirada for my family here in London whenever I can get hold of a good selection of fish….

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