BY ANDRÉ RODRIGUES DA SILVA . PORTUGAL . EUROPE
This dish can be described with only two words: honest simplicity. I first tasted it through the hands of my grandmother when I was only a child. It was something that reminded her of her own childhood in Alentejo. The first memory I have of it can be portrayed like this:
“It’s raining. I run home to take refuge from the unforgiving cloudbursts that have been flooding my day. The weather has left me sullen. I enter the house trough the kitchen and the smell of boiled fish hits me, knocking down my hope for something comforting for lunch. Suddenly, a warm sweet fragrance engages me, disarming my bad humour. My grandmother is preparing something else. I watch her while her wrinkled hands cut garlic and cilantro, crushing and grinding them into a green piquant paste. She then adds olive oil and salt. On the side she is boiling eggs in a pan. She says she is poaching them, whatever that means. The water that boiled them is then poured into the mix. Slices of dry bread are placed in a plate and, with the eggs on top, the balmy broth is served.It’s my rescue from having to eat boiled fish! I want it!”
That day established one of my favourite comfort foods and, to this moment, that warm soup still instills me a sense of serenity.