corn flour is used in the north of portugal to make “broa”, a heavy kind of bread that often accompanies countryside meals… but in the south, this bread is nowhere to be found. instead, they grind the corn coarsely to make xarém, a sort of soupy concoction resembling very watery polenta. corn being corn, it tastes mostly to the flavorings one adds to it, and so it’s incredibly versatile.

you can eat it with mussels and bacon, as is traditional in olhão:

or with octopus, as in this cooking demonstration in tavira:

the corn meal was cooked in the octopus’ cooking water, and turned an unappealing brown, but was actually way tastier than its yellow alternative. either way, it is super heavy as a meal, and best enjoyed in winter. i approve!

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