One of our favorite restaurants is Migas, in the lovely riverside village of Mértola (Alentejo). The castle-on-a-river scenery can’t be beat, nor can the opportunity to sit outside on a veranda, looking over the river, while consuming excellent food in the sunshine.
For those who like to live vicariously, here is what a lunch at Migas looked like. There was coelho frito, sautéed rabbit:
…which really should be called “the other white meat.” It’s amazingly lean, and goes well with a red wine. It’s tasty if done right, but dry otherwise.
There was secretos de porco, which my wife loves and I don’t.
It’s a cut of pork that is marbled with fat. The Portuguese see it as juicier and tastier due to the fat, but this is one of the rare dishes that I just can’t enjoy.
My favorite was the sopa de tomate, which is not anything like the tomato soup I grew up with.
This is a dish born of poverty and necessity, consisting of a tomato-based broth with an egg poached in it. Traditionally, day-old (or older) bread was tossed into this broth, which made it a cheap and filling dish. If there was meat available, so much the better. In a restaurant, the meat is served on the side and added to the soup by the customer.
Finally, we had my wife’s favorite, and the reason she loves this restaurant: the namesake migas, served here with entrecosto, or rib meat of pork.
Migas is another of those necessity dishes, in which a whole lot of bread is soaked in broth, then molded into a kind of pudding with spices and bits of meat. As with all of the other dishes, it’s filling.
The amazing thing is that we all managed to climb up to the castle tower after this. Or perhaps the right word would be “toddle.”