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, just reading your blog. I just came back from a 3 week vacation in San Miguel Açores. My husband was born there and moved to Providence, RI, at the age of 9. You mentioned Maia. That is where we stayed for the three weeks at my sister-in-law’s home in the Maia. I love that town. Everyone is so friendly. My husband was born in Lomba da Maia, but his grandmother and sister live in Maia. I’m going to order your cookbook and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    1. Hi Lori, welcome back. Yes, Maia is where my father’s family hails. They lived on Rua dos Foros, just down from the small school on Travessa de Rua dos Foros. I hope you enjoy the book. And if you have any questions, you know where to find me!

  2. I came across your website and found this article and your book. I own a travel agency in Portugal always on the look out for all things related to Portugal. Your book looks great, I will recommend it to my clients who are mainly from the US. Best regards, Gregory

  3. Today I just received your book as a Father’s Day gift. FYI, my maternal grandparents were from Funchal, Madeira. I am looking forward to reading and enjoying your book. Two questions: (1) what does the art work in the inside cover represent; it looks interesting. (2) Where was the photo taken that appears on the very first page; it shows a tree along a sea/river? Thank you!!! Gary

    1. Hello, Gary. First, Happy Father’s Day! I hope you get much pleasure from reading the book. To answer your questions: The inside cover art is a photo taken of the tile inside the chapel at the University of Coimbra. (You can see the color version on page 95.) The shot of the tree is one I took on the north side of São Miguel; that’s Maia, my father’s hometown, in the distance.

  4. Chef David, Thank you so much for such a great resource! We host a private dinner club in Ohio and frequently showcase Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, since this is what I grew up on. I’m from a Portuguese family originally from California and having actual recipes as opposed to guessing is such a God-send! I made your pine-nut cookies recently for a tapas night we hosted and they are a new favorite! Thank you so much! C.

    1. Carrie, first I’m not a chef, nor do I play one on TV. I’m merely a food writer and author. That being said, if I had a toque, it’d be tilted at a rakish angle! Thank you for the kind words about the pine-nut cookies. I love them, too. A real treat that reminds me of a cookie I had in the Alentejo, on my way to a sunset concert at the winery Cortes de Cima.

  5. I just got my book from Amazon! I debated for a long time whether I needed another cookbook (!) and even took it out of my cart…and then put it back in!! So HAPPY I did!!!

    I’ve marked about 20 recipes with post-its of must tries 🙂 I might make the Caldo Verde today…or the Azorean Kale, Sausage and Bean Soup. (I found some chorizo in Banff yesterday when I was there and it’s a cool dreary soup day today!)

    The breads are also particularly appealing! I’ve made Portuguese Corn Bread and Maza Sovada before, but not from your recipes. I’ve made your custard tarts from a magazine but they require police protection when near by! Or I do…I’m not sure which 🙂

    I love that your recipe for Olive Oil Orange Cake is in the book! I made it many times, including once for my mom and dad and Mom said it was just like hers she used to make! I can’t wait to make them the “Russian” Nut Cakes! Looking forward to the Lemon and Olive cookies and the fried cornbread as well! Mmmmm…getting hungry just talking about it all!

    David, I am also interested in becoming a Portuguese citizen. My parents emigrated with my older sister but I was born here (in Canada) shortly afterwards. Would you be willing to share the process that it took for you to get there? I would greatly appreciate it.

    Big love,

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