Jaquinzinhos are one of those foods that we love to order for American visitors. Usually a guest will first look a bit wide-eyed, then swallow hard and decide she’s going to prove her cultural openness by trying one.

This is when I say, “You start with the head.” My wife adds, “That’s the best part.”

(Yes, we’re kind of mean. But it’s fun.)

The typical guest assumes we’re kidding. We assure her we’re not, and prove it by lustily biting the heads off our own fish. Eventually she takes a tentative bite…and then her eyes usually get big and she says, “That’s actually good!”

Because they are. Actually, when done properly they’re delicious — heads, tails and all. On a nice warm day, sitting at an outside table with a cold beer in hand, they’re fabulous. We ordered some for our Oregon guests last week, one of whom is a declared non-lover of seafood, and she quite enjoyed them. Photographic proof was taken, so that she could demonstrate back home. She doesn’t like beer much, either, but she happily slurped a glass with her jaquinzinhos. I confess to feeling a bit of pride in the power of my adopted country to make converts of so many.

(Note to Algarvean visitors: a restaurant in Santa Luzia (Tavira) called Alcatruz makes fabulous jaquinzinhos, and their clams are very good as well.)

About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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21 Responses to Jaquinzinhos

  1. Paulo says:

    I mentally added “arroz de tomate” to the picture and the drooling intensified.
    Note to self: be sure to only read OEx’s posts after meals.

    (I’ve been to Alcatruz a couple of times. Actually, our last time in Algarve was spent mostly in Tavira. Right now I’m so homesick it hurts. You do know it’s impossible to swim in the Pacific coast, right? And the fish… meh.)

    • oregon expat says:

      I mentally added “arroz de tomate” to the picture and the drooling intensified.

      Ah! Perhaps I should have posted the full photo rather than a cropped close-up. You can see the whole plate here. Commence drooling.

        • Paulo,

          You really, really have to come here soon. 🙂

          PS. And, yes, the Pacific albacore tuna is delicious! (Best bought in Newport docks, imo. Yum!)

          • Paulo says:

            The plan was around March, but that has been cancelled – likely around May now.
            I’m starting to lose weight in preparation already.

            I did see that Newport is a good site for fresh fish and, to be fair, there’s Pike Place Market just two or three hours north of here… that is some good fish.
            I guess I still feel landlocked when I am not 5 minutes away from the ocean, which was the case during all of my (first) life.

    • oregon expat says:

      Oh, and I should add that it is possible to swim in the Pacific; you just have to drive south a thousand miles or so. However, you can have some fabulous fish right where you are — no tuna I’ve ever had in Portugal can compare to the wonderful albacore tuna of the Pacific. Nor can farmed Atlantic salmon compete with wild Chinook.

      (But the robalo and dourada here…mmm mmm.)

      • Paulo says:

        I slightly misspoke. Tuna and salmon are the stellar exceptions, unquestionably. No robalo like home, though, and I see you agree. Or cherne…. (oh boy, here we go again).

        As for the swimming… a thousand miles is hardly enough. Make it two thousand. The thought of which makes a cheap flight to Hawaii jump out on you and laugh at that idea.

      • Paulo says:

        OK, 1,200 miles.

  2. Lisa Shaw says:

    So, alcatraz is Spanish for pelican, and alcatruz is Portuguese for … bucket, if Google is to be believed. Hmm?

    • oregon expat says:

      It can mean a bucket for drawing up water, but I think in this instance it means a special little clay jar that is used to capture octopuses.

      • Paulo says:

        Ah, good call. Yes, those are also called alcatruzes. I guess “al-Khatrus” meant/means “pot” or “bucket” in Arab and now I am literally just guessing.

    • Paulo says:

      Sort of. It’s the name of the clay pots used to collect the water from the creeks and rivers on water mills brought to the Peninsula by the Arabs during the many centuries of “occupation”. Both words are of Arab origin, as is… Algarve (originally Al-Gharb or Al-Gharb Al-Andalus – literally meaning “West of Al-Andalus, which was itself the original name of the current Andaluzia region in Southern Spain).
      The prefix Al- became “El” in Spanish and it basically means “The”. It still shows up in many Portuguese words from Arab, such as alface (lettuce), alpendre (porch), almofada (pillow) and in hundreds or thousands of toponyms in Portugal.

  3. Lisa Shaw says:

    Also, when I come visit you someday, please do not order these fish for me, mkay? Thx. 😉

  4. Ana_ñ says:

    I wish I could be enjoying those fishes with a cold beer…

    I think the coffee machine believed in the last end-of-the-world prophecy and convinced its friends to commit suicide. The two worst things were the lost of Internet access and, a few days later, the sudden death of the computer.

    Anyway, being online again, my first thought was to come here today, for third year in a row, to say thank you for this excellent blog.


  5. xenatuba says:

    Those fishies were delightful, head, middle and tail! Beer was a wonderful addition. Sigh.

    Paulo, I am sure there is a fish market in PDX where you could get some great fish. Let me ask around…but no Jaquinzinhos, alas.

  6. myseastory says:

    oh love jaquizinhos…and all portuguese fish, it is the one thing i most miss from home. yes, i live in the caribbean and fish is no way near what we have in portugal…oh well at least the water temperature is nicer over here.
    thanks for sharing the bright side of my beautiful country!

  7. These look a lot like the pescada we get in Rio

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