Yesterday was Portugal Day and this is how we celebrated. We didn’t go to watch the parade in Toronto. We didn’t go to listen to any of the performances that were put on, in and around the city. Instead, we went shopping at a Portuguese specialty grocery store and had dinner at a Portuguese restaurant. How authentic of us!
We had gone to the grocery store, not because we were honouring our roots on Portugal Day, but rather because the people behind the counter just ‘get it’ when we tell them what Portuguese dish we’re making. They’re always helpful in getting us just the right products to make our meal in the style of the particular region we’re interested in. For this dish they suggested a nice cut of sirloin. It wasn’t what Nelson was expecting, but it was an excellent choice.
Man…we wish we had this store closer to home. We always have to make a special trip to shop there. Nelson often does grocery shopping on his own, but we all like to go with him when he has to go to this shop. Even the kids love going there because of the unique Portuguese products they find. Is it sad that this is a fun time for me? LOL… I should get out more!
The moment Nelson said he wanted to make Bitoque (sounds kind of like, bee-talk), I was immediately in the mood to have that for dinner. Hence the second Portuguese-related event from yesterday. We decided to eat at a Portuguese restaurant before heading home (yup, we also lack Portuguese restaurants in our city). I knew what I was going to order.
Bitoque is the dish that the kids and I almost always order at Portuguese restaurants. It’s super common but if the cut of meat is good and they cook it right, it’s so delicious. Basically it’s a steak with an egg on horseback and it’s normally served with salad, rice, and either straight-cut or chip-cut fries. I love watching the egg yolk ooze over my steak. MMMM…. a little egg in every bite.
Imagine how shocked I was when I didn’t see Bitoque listed on the menu. What? This was like going to McDonalds and not finding Big Mac on the menu. Not that I like Big Macs…but can you imagine not finding a Big Mac at McD’s? Nelson reminded me that he was making bitoque for dinner the next day. I knew that… but I assure you I can eat this two days in a row. I chose a another meal and enjoyed it thoroughly, because it was really good, but especially knowing I was going to have bitoque the next day.
We just finished up dinner a little while ago and Nelson’s bitoque did NOT disappoint. Even our little guy piped up with, “Dad, this is on-point!”. LOL… A real compliment from our picky eater. We do know a great bitoque when we eat one. This was one of those. It totally made up for yesterday’s restaurant disappointment.
So the stars were aligned and we ended the Portugal Day weekend with a delicious Portuguese dish. Our kids even spoke a few words of Portuguese this weekend. Success at every turn. Here’s to all things good. Eat well, friends!
Portuguese House Steak - Bitoque
- 4 1/2 inch thick sirloin steaks or cutlets (about 2 1/2 lbs total)
- 1 cup white wine
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tsp butter or olive oil to cook eggs
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Pour the marinade into a sealable freezer bag
- Place the steaks and bay leaves in the same bag.
- Remove the air and seal the bag.
- Massage the marinade into the meat and refrigerate over night (at least 4 hours)
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil to medium high.
- Remove the steaks from the freezer bag and place them on a plate that's lined with paper towel. This will remove excess liquid before placing the meat in the hot oil. Discard the marinade from the bag.
- Once the oil is hot, carefully place the steaks in the pan.
- Let them cook/sear about 4 minutes or until they look seared (you should see some brown crusty edges).
- Turn the steaks over and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the butter over the steaks and continue to cook for another two minutes.
- The steaks should be about medium. Cook longer if preferred.
- Heat a separate non-stick skillet or well seasoned cast iron pan to medium over medium heat. Add 1 tsp of butter or olive oil to the skillet (for each egg). When the butter starts to foam and melt, crack the egg and add the egg to the pan. Cook until the white is set and solid. Add salt and pepper if necessary, and set aside. Follow the step for all 4 eggs.
- Serve the steaks hot with your favourite sides. Place a fried eggs over each steak. These steaks are typically served with white rice, homemade fries, a fresh green salad and a side of olives.
Gid Pereira says
I really enjoy reading your blog and recipes. I am also Portuguese and now live in Caledon. I was 3 when we moved to Toronto in 1959 from Madeira.
I was hoping you would share the name and address of the Portuguese grocery store you mentioned in the blog. We don’t even have a local Portuguese bakery let alone a grocery store.
Nelson Cardoso says
Hi Gid, Nelson here… thanks so much for the compliment! We understand the lack of Portuguese stores. We’re in Richmond Hill and there’s very little choice. We typically visit Tavora when we want a good Portuguese shopping experience. They have 3 locations. Here’s their website: http://tavora.ca. I always feel like I’m Toys R Us for Portuguese cooks when I visit 🙂 Take care and thanks for reading the blog.
Hello, your neighbours to the south, Brampton, have a few Portuguese bakeries and one grocery store called New Port and it is on Queen Street, just east of Mississauga Road and they have a hot table withready made torisimos (sp?), fried chicharros etc., and ALL things Portuguese like fresh seafood, cheeses and our cuts of meat, canned, dry goods, spices etc. MASSA for miles, check out Ardglen Bakery on Clarence Street, people come from miles to buy this authentic sweet bread! Bread and pastries particularly good at Traditional Bakery, also on Queen Street. They also make excellent tosta mista and biscotos and bolos levedos. Golden Grains on Main Street, South of Williams Parkway, have the best rissois (sp?) Shrimp, tuna, chicken, pasteis de bacaulhua and churros. They also carry Garcia’s chourico, linguica, mouro, Marcela. Garcia Grocery is near Cawthra in Mississauga. Awesome place for ready made torisimos (sp?) and ALL things Portuguese like cheeses and our cuts of meat, canned, dry goods, spices etc. Portuguese restaurant also on Clarence and a few churrasqueira places too.
Above info for Gid Pereira
Nelson Cardoso says
Hi Pauline, thanks for sharing these details. This is certainly helpful for our GTA readers. Take care.
Yes! Ovo á cavalo! The best! So good together that when we go to have steak and eggs at a breakfast place, I can’t stop myself from putting the eggs on top of the steak! Always enjoy your posts…keep up the great work you do.
Nelson Cardoso says
Thanks Claudia! We never tire of this dish, so it was time to try it at home 🙂 Take care.