On my trips to Porto you might say I mainline on the tasty grilled sardines served up at Alexandre Osorio’s Postigo do Carvão right by the river in the historic Ribeira District of Porto. I have been sardining there for years. I mean the starters are great, like the octopus salad and the cod fritters. And the top rate Zalto Denkart glassware for an expertly curated selection of Portuguese wines such as the excellent Chapeleiro Arinto and Loureiro from the Vinho Verde which recently filled my glass.
So while attending Wine and Travel Week in Porto in late February I dropped by to see Alexandre at Postigo expecting a bash of those stinky, silvery but utterly delicious sardines! We chatted for a bit catching up and with a smile in his eyes said he was preparing a special dish for me. Yummy. Oh me o my SARDINES!!!!
BUT WAIT. What was that mound of salt being wheeled over to my table after my octopus salad was scoffed down? A whole wild caught Robalo (sea bass). What cruelty! What deprivation! No sardines in Portugal. Who cares if they are out of season. In the midst of a shaking fit that cruel Alexandre nonchalantly said can you believe this, “There is more to life than sardines!” Has my good friend now become a sardine withdrawal therapist! Sardine season runs from May to the end of September. I wanted the real thing and in some methadone fashion he offers me sea bass! I am a sardinestore cowboy!
After some soothing therapist talk Alexandre calmed my anxiety down and the salt was removed and the sea bass filleted served with kale and white beans, roast potatoes, cabbage and carrots puree along with purple kale. YES IT WAS EXCELLENT!
After a wickedly delicious Lime Almond Pie prepared by his wife Ana finished off by a Taylor’s 30-year-old port I proudly was presented with a sardine rehabilitation certificate.
Robalo ain’t sardines but it is a damn good substitute at least until May when the frisky stinkers are back in season!
Postigo do Carvão, Rua da Fonte Taurina 24 a 34, Porto, Portugal Tel 351 22 200 45 39, www.postigodocarvao.webs.com