Late Summer Saudade

by Samanta McMurray

Late Summer Saudade

August is like the Sunday of summer, they say. And what better way to end this “week” than to sip on the sweetest cocktail and a taste of the freshest cod salad. We could just call this recipe a kind of ceviche, but I’d rather tell you the real story behind this tasty fish. It all started back in the 15th century, when Portuguese fisherman went on large fishing expeditions near Newfoundland and adopted that area as their main fishing location for the centuries to come. So, why go all the way to the banks of Newfoundland to catch this fish?

There were two main reasons. First, cod was a big fish that could feed many people, and second it was a tastier fish when salted (their most reliable technique was to dry and salt the codfish so it would last longer). The peak of their fishing expeditions was marked in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the country had about 80 ships and 4,800 fishermen fishing for cod in the North Sea. Over time, eating codfish became a part of Portuguese’s tradition. Being Portuguese myself, I would dare to say that this is definitely the number one ingredient in our kitchens, and yes, we are the number one country consuming this fish in the whole world. You can imagine the thousands of recipes we created with this little fellow. The pride of 500 years of travels to the banks of Newfoundland continues to take hundreds of men to the North Atlantic Sea even today. They are considered brave men for facing hard conditions on these expeditions. We call them “the last heroes”. I’ve tried to bring back some typical flavours from the other side of the Atlantic. The codfish of course (I used the fresh version but with a generous pinch of sea salt), the freshness of the cilantro and parsley, the crunchiness of the onion, the comfort of a crusty bread, create a fresh spicy salad. Finally, pair it with a sweet and minty cocktail with cherries and peaches, the two most missed summer fruits. It’s interesting how a story about a certain ingredient can create magic around a dish! This is what I call the sweet and sour tastes of an epic expedition/season. Oh summer, you will be missed! Or as I would say in my language: Verão, vou ter saudades tuas!

sau·da·de (noun) - a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese temperament.

Explore more stories and recipes from Samanta McMurray on her blog:

Fresh Cod Salad

1lb Codfish
3 Limes (2 for fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 for zest)
1 Medium Red Onion, diced
2 Handfuls Cherry Tomatoes
1 Green Chili diced small (keep the seeds for extra spicy)
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped


1. Dice the codfish into 1/2” cubes and place them in a bowl. Place the bowl into a ice bath to keep the fish cool.

2. Add the lime juice and zest and mix it with the cod.

3. Dice the onion, green chilli and cherry tomatoes and add them to the salad.

4. Finish with the chopped cilantro, parsley and a generous pinch of salt and fresh black pepper.

5.Mix all the ingredients and keep refrigerated until serving time.

Serves 2 - 3

Mellow Nostalgia Cocktail

1 1/4 oz Cherry Liqueur
1/2 squeeze of Lime
Lemon Italian Soda
1 Peach


1. Shake Cherry Liqueur and and squeeze of Lime in a glass, then strain over ice.

2. Irritate 4 mint leaves and stir in.

3. Top with lemon Italian soda.

4. Garnish with mint sprig, peach slice and halved cherries.

Makes one cocktail

Late Summer Saudade