Bacalhau a Bras… from Pingo Doce
Apologies in advance: this is a short review of a ready-meal. Yes, I know I am a food blogger, but I like to give a full account of our food-adventures since our move to Portugal and this lunch time I ended up with my first Portuguese ready-meal! Being very busy with work today I fancied a Bacalhau a Bras and my wife set off to get one from our favourite Tavira takeaway, O Tacho (read review here.) Unfortunately they had none left and I was so set on this choice of lunch that I ended up with a ready meal from Pingo Doce. Enough with the excuses, here is the review.
Bacalhau a Bras is a very popular Portuguese dish of shredded salt cod, served with shredded fried potatoes, onions and scrambled egg, usually with a few olives on the top. This has rapidly become one of my favourite comfort-food lunches.
The ready meal container came with two compartments – the left a pile of the potatoes, which are basically like very thin potato crisps / chips and the right a very nondescript pile of “other ingredients.” First impressions were not too favourable! I needed Google Translate to assist with the cooking instructions, which were basically to put it all in a frying pan with the potatoes on top, stir and cook for five minutes.
Impressions improved as the familiar fishy smell filled the kitchen and the
mixture started to look like a dish I recognised. I was slightly disappointed not to find any olives in the mixture – I suspect if my Portuguese were better I would have found the equivalent of “serving suggestion” written on the front on the pack somewhere.
So how was it? Taste-wise, it was pretty spot-on with the familiar Bacalhau a Bras flavour I know and love. Texture….not so good, perhaps I “stirred it wrong” but some of the potatoes were a little hard and not too pleasant.
In conclusion: based on my limited research, ready-meals in Portugal are much the same as those in England – functional, but overpriced and not really a patch on the real thing!
I have a recipe for proper home made Bacalhau a Bras that I look forward to making when I have more time – stay tuned for a write up in the near future…