Portuguese egg tortas are a savory way to use up kitchen scraps, especially after holidays like Thanksgiving. Based on economic necessity in old-world Portugal, many traditional Portuguese dishes were created from the idea of "wasting nothing" and taking advantage of leftovers. Portuguese homes used food scraps and other cheap ingredients to make these egg tortas, as well as açorda, migas, and sopas. Our unique recipe was provided by Ana's Portuguese Cooking, author of Portuguese Homestyle Cooking and Authentic Portuguese Cooking.
Don't forget to drizzle your tortas with molhanga (vinegar sauce)! Molhanga sauce recipe included below the tortas recipe.
Serves: 6 - 8
Prep & Cook Time: 10 minutes
7 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked meat or fish (usually leftovers, but linguica or bacalhau add great flavor)
3 cups finely chopped scallions
1 cup finely chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsps coarse salt
3 tbsps white or yellow corn flour (all-purpose can be used in a pinch)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Olive oil or corn oil for frying
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (except for oil), mixing well to blend. The mixture should be somewhat thick.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Using a soup spoon, scoop some of the mixture and place in the hot skillet, and use the back of the spoon to spread it out evenly to a scant ½ inch thickness. You can probably fit 2-3 tortas in the pan.
3. Pan-fry the tortas until golden, cooking about 1-2 minutes on each side, and turning to brown them on both sides. Make sure they are cooked in the middle. Once done, remove from pan and drain on plates lined with paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature.
4. Drizzle with optional Molhanga (Vinegar Sauce) -- recipe below.
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Molhanga/Milhanga Sauce Ingredients:
1 tsp cumin seed or ¼ tsp ground cumin
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp coarse salt or to taste
¾ tsp ground safflower or paprika
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp hot chili paste (massa malegueta) or to taste
3 tbsps finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
¾ cup wine vinegar
1. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin, garlic, salt, safflower or paprika, pepper, and sugar. Then add the hot pepper paste and parsley.
2. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the water and vinegar, followed by the olive oil.
3. Serve on the side to drizzle over tortas. Also great served on fried fish!
For more recipes by Ana, purchase her cookbook, Authentic Portuguese Cooking!