Portuguese Dinner Party: Cocktails and Appetizers
This week I’m taking you guys on a trip to Portugal. No, not to the actual country of Portugal, but helping you experience a little taste of what it’s all about through food and drinks (and dessert, of course). Before I moved to Charlotte, I hosted a Portuguese dinner party for a few friends and relived my childhood and all the memories of my grandparents, while I prepared everything for it. I grew up helping my grandma cook these recipes and definitely helped to eat them once they were done too. It was such a cool experience to prepare authentic Portuguese meals again and it ignited a passion in me to explore the world through food. Even though travel is still a bit limited right now, there’s no reason why we can’t explore different cultures and geographic locations through recipes and ingredients and the love that goes into making them.
There are waaay too many delicious recipes to share from this Portuguese dinner party, so I decided to break it up into a few posts. Today we’re going to cover cocktails, appetizers, and some super simple decor ideas!
When putting together the table for the Portuguese dinner party, I wanted to keep things very simple, but with a touch blues and natural textures to bring in nature and the sea. Portugal is right on the coast, so they’re known for lots of fresh fish dishes and simple natural design. Bright blue and white tiles and pottery are a Portuguese staple, and I really wanted to incorporate that into the table. I keep the tableware simple with blue and white plates. I love how pretty the drinking glasses are with the blue rim. They look very pretty with a lemon slice sitting on top!
I only used a runner for the center of the table, because I wanted the natural wood to show through. I also left some of the wooden bread basket exposed, and lined it with a blue checked napkin.
I kept the centerpieces simple and just used white baby’s breath and yellow carnations that I picked up from the grocery store. My grandma never really put too much effort into any of her table designs. A simple tablecloth topped with some gorgeous Portuguese pottery was all you ever needed. It was ALLLLL about the food. Portuguese people LOVE to eat. Haha.
When it comes to drinking, Portugal doesn’t mess around. They’re known for a variety of beverages and liquor, but Port is at the top of that list. Traditional Port is a little too strong for me, but they do also make a white Port which is a bit less intense. This Portuguese cocktail recipe, which uses white Port as the main ingredient, is a perfect cocktail to serve to a crowd. It’s light and fresh, yet has a little bit of a bite too, so I knew it was exactly what I wanted to serve for this Portuguese dinner party!Print
This drink is popular all year round in Portugal, but especially during the hot Summer months. It only contains 5 ingredients and is super simple to make.
5 Cups White Port (find it at your local liquor store)
6 Cups Tonic Water
Fresh Mint Leaves
Add Port and tonic water to a pitcher. Stir to combine.
Garnish with fresh lemon slices and mint leaves.
To serve, add ice to each glass. Garnish with a lemon slice and add a few sprigs on mint as a garnish.
You can replace the fresh lemon slices with oranges if you want more of an orange flavor!
There is no shortage of food on any Portuguese table. Various appetizers and side dishes are served along with the main course. I remember soup or stew being served as an option before almost any meal, and this collard green soup was no exception. The recipe is delicious, but it’s even better drizzled with a bit of olive oil and topped with some Portuguese sausage.
This Portuguese soup is a collard green soup with pureed potatoes. It’s topped with Portuguese sausage and drizzled with olive oil. It’s perfect served with crusty bread!
10 Potatoes (peeled & cut into 1 inch slices)
2 Large Onions
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Bay Leaf
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Pepper
1 Whole Chourico (Portuguese) sausage (rinsed and dried)
6 Cups Collard Greens (Washed and Sliced Thin)
6 Cups Chicken Broth
6 Cups Water
In large soup pot add water, broth, potatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and the bay leaf.
Cook on high for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and tender.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup with a hand blender until it turns creamy.
Return the pot to the stove and cook on medium heat. Add the whole Chourico sausage (do not slice) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Remove the sausage and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Set the slices aside for the garnish.
Add the collard greens to the pot and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the stove top and serve in individual bowls.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to the top of each bowl and add a few slices of sausage on top for garnish.
(I also like to serve a small bowl of sliced sausage on the table in case people want to add a little more!)
- Cuisine: Portuguese
Because Portugal is located on the coast, fish is a big part of their everyday life and it’s incorporated into a lot of their recipes. One of the main types of fish that they’re known for are sardines!
These Portuguese grilled sardines are so easy to make and are delicious!Print
Grilled sardines are a Portuguese staple. With only a few ingredients and a hot grill, they turn out golden and crispy! Super delicious served with olive oil and crusty bread.
1–2 Pounds of Fresh or Frozen Sardines
If your sardines are frozen, defrost them by rinsing them with cold water and covering them with a generous coating of sea salt.
Let them sit for about 30-40 minutes to absorb the salt. After that, drain any excess moisture from the container they’re in and keep chilled until ready to cook.
Heat up the grill to medium-high heat.
Place the sardines on a slightly greased charcoal or gas grill on medium high heat. Let the sardines cook until they turn golden brown and crispy, then turn gently to repeat on the other side. The fish are delicate, so be careful not to break the skin when turning. To make this process easier (and to prevent the sardines from falling apart) use a greased grilling basket!
When they are fully cooked, cover them with foil and place them on a platter until ready to serve.
Serve them with crusty bread and olive oil for drizzling. If you like heat, they are delicious topped off with some Portuguese Hot Pepper Sauce (recipe farther below in the post).
Sardines have lots of little bones, so be careful when eating them!
- Cuisine: Portuguese
Keywords: Portuguese, Sardines, Grilling, Recipe
I like to drizzle them with olive oil and serve them with bread. They do have lots of little bones, so be careful when eating! (You can also pick the meat apart before eating too).
If you like a little heat, top them with some Molho De Piri Piri, a Portuguese hot pepper sauce. My grandma made this sauce constantly, and it never went to waste!
This Portuguese hot pepper sauce is a staple in a Portuguese kitchen. There was never a shortage of it in my grandma’s kitchen. It’s great to use on chicken, steak, sardines, or anything that needs a little extra kick!
8 Small Red Chiles (Cayenne, piquins, red jalapeño, santaka, arbol, cayenne, or tabasco peppers are options that all work well)
1 Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Pinch of Salt
Red Pepper Flakes, To Taste (Only if you want to add more heat)
Wash and clean the peppers. Remove the stems and discard. Keep the peppers whole, including the seeds.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a small glass jar and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.
Shake well before using.
The sauce will keep in the fridge for about one month.
It’s perfect to use on top of Portuguese sardines, tacos, grilled meats, and anything that you feel needs a little extra kick of heat.
- Cuisine: Portuguese
Keywords: Portuguese, Hot Sauce, Peppers, Chilis, Garnish
We’re just getting started with this Portuguese dinner party! Head here for all the recipes for the main course, desserts, and a drink that I grew up making!
I hope you guys are getting a little taste of the Portugal I remember from my childhood!