Portuguese people love eggs! It seems everything comes with a fried egg on top. From sandwiches to French Fries, don’t be surprised if you see an egg topping your dish, even if you didn’t order it. Omeletes and Scrambled Eggs (Ovos Mexidos) are also wildly popular.
In spring, asparagus is in season. The markets all feature asparagus in the produce section and in our city in Portugal, folks will set up a table outside and sell asparagus (along with herbs and other produce) to passersby. This is when menus in the Alentejo region feature “Ovos Mexidos com Espargos Selvagens” or Scrambled Eggs with Wild Asparagus. Often, this dish also has Chouriço. Vegetarians can request it “sem Chouriço.”
To prepare the dish, oil is heated in a pan. Chopped garlic and a bay leaf is added to the pan. Once the garlic starts to turn color, fresh chopped asparagus is added. Once the asparagus is cooked through, the eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper, are added and cooked by scrambling. A simple, but delicious dish that was nominated as one of Seven Wonders of Gastronomy of Portugal.
My all-time favorite place to get Ovos Mexidos com Espargos Selvagens is in Évora, Portugal at Botequim da Mouraria. The tiny restaurant has no tables, just a bar with eight seats and a two seat high top. They’re only open Monday through Friday for a couple hours at lunch. That’s it. No dinner, no weekends. But, it is so worth stopping by.
Domingos and his wife run the place. She is the brilliant chef and he is the jovial front of the house host.
The menu is full of traditional Portuguese dishes prepared simply. What makes them so delicious is the chef’s skill and the super-fresh ingredients she uses. Roasted mushrooms are made with just olive oil and salt. Yet, they are scrumptious.
Then, there’s the Asparagus and Eggs. Domingos brings out a huge platter and, using a set of tongs, fills your plate with fluffy goodness. So good!
There is an extensive wine list from Alentejo and all over Portugal to pair with your meal. The small space and bar seating area lends itself to a feeling of community amongst diners. After the meal, Domingos might bring out a camera and take your pictures, saying he will put them on the digital picture frame that boasts rotating images of happy customers. Highly recommended!
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto , Monsaraz, and Batalha in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.