Gastronomy has been recognized as an important element in attracting domestic and international tourism fluxes and has enabled the continuing development of the restaurant sector, being of crucial economic importance for the entire region and promoting the creation of direct and indirect jobs.
In the municipality of Olhão, there are many places where you can taste the cuisine of the region, especially along the Avenida 5 de Outubro (5 de Outubro Avenue), near the Riverside area (Zona Ribeirinha), which concentrates most of restaurants and bars. The typical dishes of the municipality are, among others, the Xarém with Conquilhas (corn flour with small clams), one of the 21 finalists of a in the 7 Gastronomic Wonders of Portugal, Raia Alhada (ray with garlic), Litão “Olhão’s way” (litão is a characteristic fish from Olhão, usually served and tasted on Christmas), Anchovies and Clams.
In the Algarve, corn flour is made by grinding grains in the millstone, the natural millstone inherited from the Romans. This poorly milled corn is used to make xarém, the maize porridge common throughout the Mediterranean basin.
1 kg of conquilhas (a small clam)
200 g of corn flour
8 strips of smoked bacon
2 slices of bread cut into squares
2 litrs of water
In a bowl, wash the shells in cold water to remove any impurities they may contain. Cover with sea water, or, eventually with plenty of salted tap water and let it stand for about 4 to 5 hours.
In a saucepan, olive oil and chopped onion are placed to brown; add the indicated water; spread the flour slowly and stirring at the same time. It boils for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
Fry the strips of bacon and the bread squares in the olive oil, remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, the conquilhas are cooked and open. Add the conquilhas, bacon, fried bread and chopped coriander to the xarém, rectify the salt and serve.