Andre and I recently spent 10 days in Portugal, in the ancient little town of Tavira in the Algarve. A look see around the local restaurants did not excite me, much of a muchness, so to speak. So what does a travelling LekkerBek do? Find the local fresh produce market (Mercado) as soon as possible!
The market turned out to be walking distance from the little house we were renting. It was not a pretty market, like those you would find in France and Italy – it is for the locals by the locals, and not a word of English is understood. Old men sitting in the middle drinking coffee and discussing whatever they discuss, little old ladies bustling around buying a handful of this and a handful of that. Loads of fresh fish - which permeates the whole market with that distinctive fishy odour.
I managed to find really fresh shrimps, gorgeous tomatoes, garlic, fresh shallots, potatoes directly from the earth, the best olives and juicy lemons. The veggies were fresh and lovely, the fruit mostly imported and pricey. All you need is a hot pan, olive oil, dash of butter, lemon, salt and pepper and you have a pan full of shrimp goodness – so fresh you eat the whole shrimp!
Salad on the side, with hot crusty bread, olives to pick on and a bottle of dry Rosé wine and that was our staple diet. Bom! (good)
Fresh market produce
Local fishing boats