potato for the Yukon Gold. Floury potatoes, such as our Idaho spuds, are rarely seen in Portugal.
RICE arroz (uh-rawsh) A staple of the Portuguese table, rice is the country’s favorite starch. The average Portuguese eats thirty-six pounds of rice a year—versus thirteen pounds for other Europeans. In fact, it’s so adored it’s not unusual to have rice and potatoes on the same plate. My grandmother often made her soups with both, and my aunt Irena still serves creamy Tomato Rice with roasted pork and potatoes. What comes as a surprise to many people is that Portugal has been a large producer of rice for close to four centuries. The Ribatejo region and the area near Figueira da Foz, in Beira Litoral, are renowned for their rice paddies. One of Portugal’s most common rices is the short-grained Carolino, a product of the Lezírias Ribatejanas area just north and south of the Tagus River. The rice, which sops up avors and liquid superbly and is called for in many classic dishes, now carries the Indicação Geográ ca Protegida (IGP) designation, meaning only rice from this region that undergoes a particular process can be called Carolino. Arroz Agulha is long-grained, and some Portuguese prefer it for use in side dishes. With the exception of the Rice Pudding Redux and the risottos, which call for Carolino, Carnaroli, or Arborio rice, any high-quality long-grain rice works well in these recipes.
SALT sal (sahl) The most important thing I can say about salt isn’t what kind to buy but rather how to use it. Too many cooks hold o salting—and peppering—their food until it’s minutes away from being served. The results: negligible. You have to salt as you go. And don’t forget to taste! Salt is so important because it brings out the avors of food. Correctly salted food will never taste salty; it will taste only of the other ingredients. I use coarse kosher salt in cooking because it’s widely available and because I can control exactly how much I’m using when I pinch some between my ngertips. There are excellent salts in central Portugal, but I nd the best are