Salgados are salty deep fried things that are typical Portuguese snack food made to accommodate many cravings that aren’t sweet.
Salgados are a typically Portuguese thing that could be called petisco but they are in a category of their own. You will find them in almost every bar, snack-bar or pastelaria in Portugal in some form or other but not every place will produce them the way they should be and so some are better than others, in this article we will explain what they are and how to recognize a possibly very good one!.
Salgados are salty things, deep fried using fish or meat and when done well, are delicious great snacks that accompany drinks, make a quick lunch, a street food or are mixed with dinner.
for a vegetarian there are not many options when it comes to Salgados, even though some of the more modern places are offering vegetarian alternatives.
If you eat fish there are a lot of choices, a lot of them based on bacalhau, tuna or white fish a meat eater will have a large selection of options.
Salgados are difficult to explain in English terms as they don´t have an exact comparison although you could think of first of all of many Brazilian savory options related to the Portuguese Salgados or the Indian Samosa, American Hushpuppie, the Russian Chiburekki or other deep fried savory snacks.
Portugal has many types, some regional, others national standard that you will find literally everywhere.
Salgados are generally served to accompany drinks or combined with bread or a meal.
The most famous Salgados are
Pastel de Bacalhau or a salt cod fritter
This is possibly the most common and most served Salgado. It is made of soaked salt cod, potato puree, coriander, onion and seasoning. A three bite snack that is absolutely delicious when prepared correctly.
Rissóis are much like the French rissole’s or croquettes but more sturdy and calorie rich. Rissóis are half moon shaped deep fried pastry covered in breadcrumb and filled with fish, meat and sometimes veg like mushroom covered in Béchamel sauce and than deep fried.
Some common types are Rissol de Camarão – a rissol containing shrimp, Rissol de Peixe – a fish rissol and Rissol de Carne – a rissol woth meat.
Bolinhos are one bite pingpong ball shaped snack containing potato mixed with meat, fish or chicken
Chamuças look very much like the Indian Samosa and generally contain meat or chicken although you can also find vegetable Chamuças in some places.
Croquetteslike the French croquettes mixed with meat or chicken.
Pataniscas are a delicious deep fried snack that generally resembles a thick pancake but Ive also seen them resembling balls, there are generally prepared using bacalhau, octopus or tuna mixed with egg, flour, onion and parsley.
Most Salgados are served cold!
How to recognise a well prepared Salgado obviously you cant tell how its going to taste and its just a matter of trying to find the best places to eat them.
However there a certainly some tell tale signs as to its quality. The first one I always check for is the level of oil on the tissue or plate on which it rests, the best Salgado should not be oily at all and should leave no trace of it.
The colour should generally be golden brown and the shape firm and steady!
Salgados are also often combined with petiscos (tapas), would you like to read more about this typically Portuguese food style read our article about Petiscos