The 2019 Botanical! A Weekend of Culinary Wonder is focusing on the cuisines of Spain and Portugal. If you’re wanting to explore some of the foods of this region, here are some dishes to try.


(Salted Cod à la Brás)

Note: Bodean Restaurant and Market carries salt cod. Current price is $11.99 per pound.

1 pound boneless, skinless dried salt cod loin

1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch sticks

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 small onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

¼ teaspoon saffron threads, finely crushed

1 clove garlic, minced

6 large eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup chopped oil-cured olives

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

1. Rinse fish with cold water; place, skin side up, in a shallow baking dish and cover with water to ¼ inch above fish. Cover and chill 24 hours, changing water at least four times.

2. Drain fish and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 12-15 minutes or until fish begins to flake apart. Drain. Flake fish into bite-sized pieces with a fork.

3. While fish cooks, put potatoes in a large bowl, cover with cold water to at least 1 inch above potatoes and let stand 30 minutes. Drain and pat potatoes dry with paper towels.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat. Add half the potatoes and cook 5 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, swirl to coat, and repeat procedure with remaining potatoes.

5. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1½ tablespoons oil to pan, then add onion, garlic and saffron. Saute 6-8 minutes until onion is golden brown. Add remaining 1½ tablespoons oil to pan, add fish and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and cook an additional 2 minutes.

6. Combine eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Pour over mixture in the pan and cook 3 minutes until eggs are soft-scrambled, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with olives and parsley and serve.

— Recipe adapted from “Cooking Light Global Kitchen”


(Easter bread)

2 packages yeast

¼ cup warm water

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk, scalded and still hot

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

6 cold hard-boiled eggs (can be colored)


1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring


1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, the hot milk, butter and salt; stir until butter melts. When cooled to lukewarm, beat in eggs and yeast mixture. Gradually beat 5 cups of flour into the liquid, blending until smooth.

2. Flour a board heavily with part of the remaining flour and turn dough out onto board. Sprinkle with more flour. Knead until very smooth, adding flour to board as needed. Place dough in a large buttered bowl. Keep covered in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Punch down dough. Butter or oil hands to work with dough.

3. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, 20-24 inches. Take three ropes and braid them, pinching the ends together to form a circle. Insert 3 eggs into the braided dough and place into a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Repeat with remaining ropes of dough. Let rise again for an hour.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown.

5. For glaze: Add water by tablespoons to powered sugar and lemon flavoring until you have a thick glaze. Drizzle over the top of the bread, avoiding the eggs. Top with jelly beans for extra color.

— Recipe courtesy Colleen Almeida Smith


(Garlic soup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 cups vegetable broth

(organic preferred)

1 cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 slices rustic bread (about 1 ounce each), cut into cubes

8 large eggs

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and cook 5 minutes until tender (do not brown). Stir in paprika. Add broth, water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil 4 minutes or until golden, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

4. Place about ¼ cup bread cubes into each of 8 oven-proof soup bowls. Break an egg into each bowl, then ladle about ½ cup of broth mixture into each bowl.

5. Arrange bowls on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny. Remove from oven, top with parsley and serve.

— Recipe adapted from “Cooking Light Global Kitchen.”


Paella is usually cooked in a large shallow pan so that the rice can crisp up into what Spaniards know as the socarrat. This version is a bit more home-kitchen friendly.

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 bacon slices, chopped

1 (3½-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups long-grain white rice

1 (7-ounce) jar roasted sliced pimientos with juice

½ teaspoon crushed

saffron threads

2 cups bottled clam juice

1½ cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 pound cleaned squid, bodies cut into ½-inch rings

1 dozen clams, scrubbed

1 dozen mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Lemon wedges

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat olive oil in heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon, and cook until fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Set aside.

2. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pot, and cook over medium heat until brown, about 7 minutes per side. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot.

3. Add chopped onions and garlic to pot, and saute until they start to brown, scraping up any browned bits, about 10 minutes. Stir in rice, roasted pimientos with juices and saffron. Add clam juice and chicken stock to pot, and bring mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.

4. Pour rice mixture into 15-by-10-inch glass baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Arrange chicken, shrimp, squid, clams and mussels in rice mixture. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and peas. Cover with foil.

5. Bake paella until chicken is cooked through, clams and mussels open and rice is tender, about 45 minutes (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Remove foil from baking dish. Let paella stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

— Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

James D. Watts Jr.


Twitter: watzworld

Scene Writer

James writes primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478