Portuguese Grits

Thursday May 2, 2013

By Wendy Ponte

While tweaking my recipe for Molhos Fritos today, I had a flashback to being a little girl and sitting in my grandmother's kitchen in the early morning. She took a shallow cooking bowl out of the refrigerator that had some yellow rubbery looking stuff in it.

I asked her what it was, and she reminded me that we'd had some corn porridge with peas the day before. This was some of the leftover corn mush that she had stuck in the fridge. She cut it up into slices and fried it in a skillet. We had it for breakfast, along with some eggs and toasted Portuguese bread from the local bakery. They were a sort of Portuguese version of fried grits.

Many years later, while visiting Madeira, I was served the Molhos Fritos in one of the many restaurants that makes Espetada (meat on a skewer). The molhos are little squares of deep-fried corn mush and are used a lot on Madeira as a side dish. You don't see them in any other part of Portugal. They were crunchy and delicious.

But it was only today that I made the connection that Grandma was duplicating them with leftovers. My grandmother was actually from the Azores, but Grandpa was from Madeira and must have taught her how to make this.


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