Rice with the flavour of the sea

Because of its ability to absorb other flavours, rice makes itself the best candidate to accompany seafood.

In a country with more than 1,000 kilometres of coastline, and extensively bathed by the Atlantic, fish and shellfish are the champions.

An example that illustrates these statements is the fact that the cod and rice, among others, have always been considered basic staples of Portuguese cuisine. However, it should be added that they are just a small note in the entire pages that could be written about Portuguese rice recipes with a taste of the sea.

Each and every one of the specimens that can be found on the Portuguese coast have a place alongside rice, from the big fish of the sea, represented here by corvina (whiting), robalo (sea bass) and raia (skate) to the appetizing shellfish such as santola (common crab), camarão (shrimp) or lavagante (lobster).

Any cookbook on the European continent that describes the typical gastronomy of its member countries will get from Portugal the recipe for arroz de tamboril (monkfish rice), an authentic dish that is usually flavoured with the popular piripiri (chilli) brought from Africa and widely used in the country.

Octopus is highly esteemed in the northern regions of Portugal, where the famous arroz de polvo (octopus rice) is made; a dish full of stock from traditional sailors' cooking. This recipe is widespread throughout the country and also eminent in the southern areas, for example in the Alentejo, where it is called arroz de polvo bravo (wild octopus rice).

In the regions located between the Douro and Minho, guisados de arroz com lampreia (eel and rice stews) are typical, a chunky dish starring this marine species that spawn upstream in the rivers during the coldest months of the year. Arroz de lulas (squid rice) recipe is another simple and daily staple in this region.

A special mention for arroz de marisco (shellfish rice), a prized dish that contains the most delicious specimens from the Atlantic, especially on the coasts of the ancient province of Douro Litoral.

The south also likes the alliance of rice and the sea, distinguished by cuisine of a simple basis, which transforms into plates of arroz de amêijoas (clams), arroz de berbigão (cockles) and in the guisados de arroz de pargo, atum, ou garoupa (stews of rice and red snapper, tuna, or grouper). Alongside these homemade recipes the delicious and popular rice and shellfish dishes surged once again in the Algarve, made with the abundant and diverse inhabitants of the rocks and sands of these beaches, for example, percebes (gooseneck barnacles), amêijoas (clams), or chocos (cuttlefish).

We could present an endless list of recipes to describe the multitude of dishes with these ingredients because to taste of the sea, they just have to be made with fish, seafood… or rice