Right alongside clam chowder and lobster bisque, Portuguese-style kale stew (caldo verde in Portuguese) occupies a special place in Cape Cod’s pantheon of soups and stews. My favorite version is served at Mac’s on the Pier in Wellfleet’s peaceful, scenic harbor. Since their seafood soups are equally fantastic, I always have trouble deciding what to order—here, I’ve added oysters into a kale stew recipe to get the best of both worlds. They add a pleasant brine to the rich, spicy broth and a welcome textural counterpart.
¼ cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound linguica (or Portuguese chourico/Spanish chorizo), diced
2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup white wine (optional)
5 cups water (or 6 if not using wine)
1 large bunch kale, leaves torn roughly into small pieces
1 (15.5-ounce) can dark kidney beans,
drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 dozen oysters
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the garlic and linguica. Sauté for 8 minutes, then add the potatoes, mix well and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, water and kale, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn to a simmer and add the kidney beans. Season with salt and pepper, and leave to simmer 30–40 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
Meanwhile, shuck the oysters, remove from shells and transfer to a bowl. Drain half of the liquor and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Once the potatoes are cooked through, add the oysters and stir to warm through for about 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers.
LUKE PYENSON is a food and travel writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer based in New York City. You can see examples of his work at www.lukepyenson.com.