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The month of February - O Paparico and Nature

Welcome to February at O Paparico!

It is a special month as it welcomes our re-opening. Time is running out and we have all the willingness in the world. The re-opening of the doors not only announces our return to the Portuguese gastronomic scene, but will also be a breath of fresh air for those who visit us. With an completely new menu, we leave in the air the certainty of exciting novelties. In addition to the usual à la carte menu and sharing menu, the portugality menu will be presented. Completely blindfolded, you will be led on a tasting journey, capable of stimulating your five senses. Stay with us and learn more about some of Nature's products that will be part of our menu in February.

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Unique in the calendar due to its changing characteristics, February has an extra day every four years, a fact that gives rise to leap years. And what seems to have nothing to do with it suddenly becomes our claim to affirmation. It is from this peculiarity that our essence is born. Our commitment is to never remain the same. So it was, so it will be. In its own sense, Nature is a gift. So when we approach the selection of products for our kitchen, it is important to do this selection without violating it, respecting its timing, its seasonality. This time we have chosen three seafood products that will be part of our creations this month: sea urchin, bluefin tuna and red mullet.
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Sea urchin has an unusual and intense taste, and is considered by many to be a rare delicacy. In Portugal there is no history of consumption of this product. In the same way, researching Portuguese recipes, there are no recipes that highlight it. On one hand, there are those who consider it should be eaten fresh, natural and even showing some signs of life. On the other, and in a more creative and contemporary version, it is commonly diluted in preparations that give dishes an incomparable and exceptional touch of the sea. It is a real marine treasure adorned with spikes.

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The bluefin tuna is an extraordinarily energetic fish, distinguished by its size and dimensions, by the rhythm with which it swims, by its warm body and large gills, which allow it to rapidly absorb oxygen, as well as by the intelligent physiology of its heart. It is a fast and epic animal, of glistening blue and pure marine blood. Swimming at high speed, it is known to migrate over long distances and to withstand the cold of the deep waters where it lives.
 
It is widely used in the Mediterranean diet, both for its rich flavour and its health-giving properties. It is endowed with the presence of fatty acids such as omega-3, is rich in minerals such as selenium, magnesium and is an incredible source of vitamins (A, B, B3, B9, B12 and D). In addition to all these properties, it is an excellent source of protein, with high biological and nutritional value. It can be cooked but is mostly consumed raw.
 
As it is a seasonal product, some methods have been used over the years to preserve it so that it can be consumed out of season, among which we highlight preparations such as drying it, keeping it in brine, over oil or marinated.
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Lastly, the mullet. It is a small fish, but with very appetising flesh. Reddish on the outside, with a firm body, white inside and excellent taste. It is included in the group of semi-fatty fish, for its nutritional qualities (it has almost 4 grams of fat per 100g of edible portion). Its protein content is not very high, but the proteins it contains are considered to have a high biological value, as they contain all the essential amino acids. It has vitamins such as B1, B2 and B3, which allow the use of all the energy nutrients. An interesting curiosity about mullet is that its colour varies according to its activity.
 
February will be marked by the reopening of O Paparico and the exaltation of what is our greatest heritage, Portuguese recipes.