Words involving “cured and smoked” in regards to meat in Portugal often leads to thoughts of links of spicy chouriço or subtly sweet legs of presunto hanging in a dark smoke house. Some of the other sausages come to mind such as alheira. The one that has found its way across the globe, from Hawaii to Brazil, and has been integrated into so many cuisines is the robust yet mild linguiça.
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Linguiça (pronounced “Lin-gwees-sa”) is said to have derived its name from its unique shape, a long slender tongue (lingua in Portuguese), and not from any use of tongue in the sausage itself. This sausage is primarily prepared at home and rarely seen in restaurants, though it’s readily available in stores across the country and in many specialty stores in the US. If you like chouriço, but don’t want the extra spice it often brings then linguiça is a perfect alternative to use in Portuguese soups, arroz de pato (duck rice) or in pasta.
One dish where the use of linguiça is a requirement is the Francesinha (Frenchie in Portuguese), the famous Porto sandwich that has origins in the French croque-monsieur. It’s thought that this luscious sandwich originated in the 1960’s in Porto when Daniel da Silva returned to Portugal from France with the notion of adapting the croque-monsieur for the Portuguese palate. This resulted in a sandwich layered with cheese, ham, steak, and linguiça and smothered in a tangy, sweet sauce, essentially making it the ultimate sanduíche portuguesa and the perfect medium to try some delicious homemade linguiça!
If you want to learn how to make linguiça at home, why not try our easy and delicious linguiça recipe! Alternatively, you could simply follow this Francesinha recipe, or if the mood should strike, come to Portugal to experience a sandwich food tour firsthand!