Brik pastry stuffed with alheira, greens & eggs

Brik pastry stuffed with alheira, greens & eggs

Folhado de alheira

By
From
Lisbon
Serves
4
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Brik is a dish from North Africa, made with a very fine pastry, even thinner than filo, called malsouka (malsouqa) or warka (warqa). (I use pastry called feuilles de brick from France, which I buy online – it keeps for ages sealed in its packet.) The North African version is usually filled with onion, tuna, parsley, capers and egg, but once I tasted it cooked like this, with the famous smoked poultry sausage, alheira, at Estrela da Bica in Lisbon, I had to try cooking the dish for myself. (For alheira’s extraordinary history.) As with the Brazilian and Goan flavours that weave themselves into Portuguese cuisine, this is another example of Portugal assimilating ingredients from its former trade routes into its modern-day kitchen.

Once you’ve mastered the basic brik technique, the possibilities are numerous: you could use crumbled dried or cooking chouriço (chorizo), or smoked or cooked chicken instead of alheira; you could jettison the meat altogether and use a tangy sheep’s cheese or goat’s cheese; you could include sautéed mushrooms, cooked peppers or tinned sardines. Just avoid wet ingredients like spinach or tomato sauces, because they will leak water into the hot oil, causing it to splutter and spit.

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