10 June 2012

10 June - Day of Portugal

Weather – If it rains on St. Margaret’s day, it will rain for fourteen days.
(this is the feast of St. Margaret of Scotland in the old calendar; in the new calendar, it is 16 November)

Today is the Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas

(and the Communities Portuguese can be anywhere in the world. The Smallest State, with a large Portuguese population, usually has a large celebration to match on the weekend closest to the 10th.)

This is the national day of Portugal, honoring the descendents of Lusitania, their history and their achievements. 

The date was chosen in honor of Luís Vas de Camões, Portugal’s greatest poet, who died on this day in 1580.  He is best remembered for his epic poem, Os Lusíadas, a pæon of praise for Portugal’s voyages of exploration and discovery, most notably those of Vasco de Gama.  Read a summary of the book at Wikipedia, and the entire poem online (in English) at Project Gutenberg.

Go Lisbon has a concise history of Portugal, with places to visit from each era of its history. While you are there, check out the other pages - culture, nightlife, cuisine, and fado, not forgetting The Age of Discovery – How Portugal started globalization.

And if your area has a Portuguese celebration, go!  The food is just marvelous, and the music will have you on your feet.

In honor of the Voyages of Discovery, have SARDINHAS DE CALDEIRADA, a stew made with sardines and/or other kinds of fish (use what you have).

Salt the fish by placing 2 pounds of fish on a platter or pan; sprinkle with ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cover and let it stand for about 3 hours (I put mine in the refrigerator).

Slice 2 large onions.
Chop fresh parsley to equal ¾ cup.

Brown the onions in ½ cup of olive oil.  Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, 2 cups of tomatoes (a 1 pound can will do – I use crushed tomatoes), 1 cup or an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, ½ cup of white wine (give the rest to the cook) and 1-1/2 cups of water.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the fish and simmer until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes.

Serve with bread, and (if the cook left any) the white wine.

 Bom apetite!