New Portuguese Table

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First Book/Julia Chid Award teaser

Food photography by Nuno Correia / Design by Stephanie Huntwork

Bread Chapter

Bread chapter opening page

Rissois de Carne (Beef Turnovers)

Recipe layout for Beef Turnovers (Rissóis de Carne)


Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain, Portugal is today’s hot-spot vacation destination, and world travelers are enthralled by the unique yet familiar cuisine of this country. The New Portuguese Table takes you on a culinary journey into the soul of this fascinating nation and looks at its 11 surprisingly different historical regions, as well as the island of Madeira and the Azores, and their food culture, typical dishes, and wines. This book also showcases Portugal’s pantry of go-to ingredients, such as smoked sausages, peppers, cilantro, seafood, olive oil, garlic, beans, tomatoes, and bay leaves — all beloved by Americans and now combined in innovative ways.

In The New Portuguese Table, David Leite provides a contemporary look at the flavorful food of this gastronomic region, sharing both the beloved classics he remembers from cooking at his grandmother’s side, such as Slowly Simmered White Beans and Sausage, as well as modern dishes defining the country today, like Olive Oil–Poached Fresh Cod with Roasted Tomato Sauce. With nearly 100 full-color photographs and a contemporary perspective, The New Portuguese Table is the handbook to the exciting cuisine of Portugal.

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What people are saying about  recipes in The New Portuguese Table

Sea Bass with Fennel and Orange
This sauce is so lovely. The proportions of the sauce are perfect; it’s really a great combination of flavors. It comes together so quickly, then comes out so pretty! Perfect for any night of the week.

Skate with Leeks in a Saffron Broth
I used rock cod and red peppers. The [saffron] taste remained delicate, yet was rich and pronounced. It was certainly delicious and dinner-party worthy. Definitely goes into the do-again list.

Grilled Shrimp with Piri-Piri Sauce
Well, isn’t this the best quick shrimp dish ever! Having made the piri-piri sauce in advance (a couple weeks ago, as directed), I threw in the shrimp in the morning. They went on the grill for a few minutes before dinner, and there we had it! A salad tossed together and dinner was served. I did put a little bowl of piri-piri sauce out, but the shrimp had absorbed so much flavor, it wasn’t even touched.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Coconut Sauce
I started marinating the chicken breasts the night before, so they were in more than 24 hours. The taste was wonderful! With the long marinade, the chicken really absorbed the flavors. I have to say that this dish wasn’t what I imagined to be Portuguese flavors. We certainly see Portuguese influence in dishes from around the world, and it only makes sense that there would also be some cross-pollination.

Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
If there is anything that outshines the compelling smell of the amped-up red pepper paste as the tenderloin hits the skillet, it’s got to be the taste of the pork, with the sauce on the outside and the cheese on the inside. I served roasted carrots and turnips on the plate, and a green salad on the side. A complete winner for the senses and a worthwhile dinner party dish, to be sure.

Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Fresh Cod
Creamy eggs with onions, garlic, asparagus, and fried potatoes, are placed atop the spears of asparagus and make a soft landing for the seared cod. I used the suggested herb oil from page 40, which consisted of a bouquet from the garden heated in Tuscan olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes. This was a very nice addition and I used more of the oil for roasting vegetables at dinner time. All in all, a lovely meal for brunch, or anytime.

Punched Potatoes
Why are these potatoes so creamy? Leite mentions the creamy texture in the intro to the recipe, but I wasn’t expecting anything different from a usual roasted potato. Does the salt on the skin do something? Anyway, I don’t know the answer, but I loved these potatoes and the technique.

Baked Custard Tarts
Just fantastic. Not completely 100% authentic but close enough and utterly delicious. The dough is a little fussy to prepare but well worth the effort.

All reviews courtesy of members of Eat Your Books.


  1. Hi David, do you know what the little desserts are that look like the egg custard tarts, but the filling is sweet and made with beans? I went to a portuguese event and fell in love with them, but do not know what they are called or have a recipe.

  2. Hello, I was looking for a pata negra paella pan, stumbled into a copper cataplana. Purchased a vintage one from EBAY, supposedly from W Sonoma, but had to return it as the size was inaccurately advertised as being 9 inch instead of 11. In addition, one of the side clamps did not even clamp properly, being inches away from the cataplana when closed. So, I googled, found one last one at W S. Went there, was an 11.8 inch one, much lighter than the vintage 9 inch one, with the same defective clamp. It was labeled as “DAVY’ So, decided to buy one directly buying from Portugal after googling and innumerable email exchanges. They claim they make the best cataplanas, have the flat bottom versus traditional ones, which of course makes cooking on top of a French cast-iron cooktop easier as well as the gourmet bulging series. Well, the cataplana arrived, was very disappointed that both clamps when closed, did not even touch the vessel. In addition, it was difficult to align the 2 clam shells to close the clamps. Their explanation is that the cataplanas are not meant to be a pressure cooker, not a perfect seal, that if I want to have the clamps tightened, I had to adjust it myself. They also explained that they are the premium company in Portugal and probably manufactured the one I saw at WS since a lot of companies buy their wares and place their own logo on it! Return Policy is non existent unless it is damaged. Now, I am at a complete lost as to whether it is worthwhile for me to look for another cataplana after these incidents. Is it a fact that cataplanas are not meant to be hermetically sealed? I wonder if the older vintage metalutil which currently out of production are made the same? I did read a blog whereby the author stated not to buy any cataplanas unless they are handmade. Very disappointed, am not sure it is worthwhile at this point to pursue buying a vintage one if the comment from the factory in Portugal is accurate. I hope u can explain if this is true or poor workmanship.

    1. cristina, I, too, have experienced the same thing. My copper cataplana is somewhat flimsy and more of a decorative serving dish, than anything else. Cataplanas are not supposed to work like a pressure cooker and do not have hermetic seals. The brand that I use and like very, very much is Silampos. It’s a stainless steel model with a thick flat bottom. The clamps close but doesn’t make seal. I’m not sure where you can buy them here. I had them shipped to me special for a television event.

  3. David! Hello from Toronto, Canada. I bought your book last year and have tried a few recipes. I don’t consider myself a very good cook but your instructions are very helpful and I look/feel like a superstar in the kitchen now! The duck risotto was a big hit as was the rosemary custard. I have made the frango na pucara twice now and it is so delicious. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful and delicious recipes.

    1. Monica, you’re my official New Best Friend of the Day! I’m thrilled you like the book and find it instructive. When you make more dishes, take a few pix and send them along. I always love seeing what my readers create in their kitchens.

  4. Hi David,
    Your book looks wonderful!! I was wondering if I might tap into your Portuguese expertise.
    I recently visited my aunt and her new husband, who is from Portugal, made us an amazing chicken noodle soup. The noodles were like orzo but he said they were Portuguese noodles. He commented that they were his last bag and I was hoping to send him some as a thank you for having us, however, I have had no luck identifying the noodle and have therefore been unable to find them. Any thoughts?

    1. Susan, I’m at a loss. I know my family, and a lot of Portuguese families, use orzo. So I don’t know if your new uncle has an imported version of that from Portugal. Perhaps one of our readers does?

      1. Olá, found your blog just now. Loving it!

        Lisboeta is a person that lives in Lisboa, like New Yorkers from New York, Portuenses from Porto.

        Alfacinha means small lettuce and is a nickname, as in tripeiro, for the Porto people. There are many possible explanations for that nickname.


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