We decided to "taste the culture" yesterday, and headed to the outdoor market for some fresh, local, Azorean treats. We started out at the fruit and veg store, where our friend Humberto sold us all kinds of deliciousness, mostly all of it local. Figs, melons, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, etc. Humberto is great- he acted unfazed when my 2-year old did a literal face-plant into a huge bunch of grapes, eating and slobbering as he went. He let us have them for free (though I couldn't help but wonder if he secretly hated us! He didn't act like it though. Good ol' Humberto. We did offer to pay a few times, but he wouldn't let us).
Then, we went to the fish store. I was on the lookout for some fresh sardines, but being the brilliant one that I am, I forgot to look up the Portuguese word for them ("sardinhas"- what a toughie!) I didn't even look online to see what they look like. So, I ended up buying what I thought were fresh sardines, but were really horse mackerel (I think). As a cooking friend candidly said, "What an appetizing name for a fish!" Lol!
Even though they weren't the coveted fresh sardines, they still needed to be eaten... before they stank up the fridge. So we put those babies on the grill! (Seasoned only with olive oil, coarse sea salt, and TJ's lemon-pepper). The fish-monger ladies cleaned out the guts for us... I'm grateful. They left the poor heads on though, so that part kind of freaked me out while I was handling them. And the cooked meat was a pain to get off, as these fish are so tiny, and full of even tinier bones. But when it was all said and done, the meat was very yummy and everyone thought it tasted good; the kids couldn't get enough.
Needless to say, the mini horse-mackerel experience is not something we'll be rushing to repeat! Still on the lookout for those fresh sardines, though.....
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