We all love simple meals in summer. Portuguese food is perfect for the season: ingredients left plain and simple, often grilled, with a light drizzle of olive oil. What could be better?
To accompany this Mediterranean fare, choose a wine from the same region. Portugal abounds with delicious wines that will titillate your taste buds. From the essential and refreshing Vinho Verde from the north to the more generous port, the range of flavours is vast and will satisfy any palate or occasion.
Start the evening off agreeably with a Vinho Verde, especially one made with Loureiro. Generously fruity, it is also crisply acidic and pairs amazingly well with Portuguese codfish fritters. At the table, a few pink shrimp doused in lime juice and surrounded with diced celery and coriander will pair well with the summery Vinho Verde. The aniseed-tinged celery and coriander complement the aromas of Loueiro while the saltiness and acidity of the dish tempers the freshness of the wine.
Piri-piri is classic Portuguese. This type of chili is used to prepare the sauce of the same name, which can be found in fine grocery stores. I use it regularly in marinades (olive oil, garlic, lemon and piri-piri) to flavour chicken and beef before grilling it on the barbecue. I turn to the Douro region not for its port, but for its dry red wines made with the same varieties. Opt for a bottle with the Aromatic and supple taste tag; they reveal roasted and fruity notes that are ideal for pairing with marinated and barbecued dishes.