Congreso Internacional de mujeres gastronomía y medio rural


Justa Nobre. “An all-year round soup and a very special "torrija" dessert”

Mónica Ramírez


Justa Norbe, born in a small village in Tras-os-Montes, is a leading light in Portuguese cuisine, and she has publicised the recipes of her local environment not only through her restaurant O Nobre (Lisbon), but also in books and television programmes. Since she arrived in the capital of Portugal at the age of 15, Justa Norbe has spent her life cooking. 

One of the recipes that has gained her the most fame in her own country is Spider Crab Soup, which kicked off her talk at the GastroFeminAS congress. “Everyone was making seafood and prawn soup, and I wanted to do something different”, says Justa. This is a recipe which, despite its long trajectory, is still served in her restaurant "in tableware specially designed for it”, says the chef. Its success is borne out by the fact that it is on the menu all year round. 

For those who want to make it at home, here's how. According to Justa, you remove the crab's legs and meat, and make a stock with water and salt with the body casing. Then you put that aside. In a saucepan, lightly fry some onion, parsley, butter (not olive oil), white Porto wine and saffron. Add the stock, and thicken it with corn starch and cream, and then add pepper and hot spice. 

Nobre's second recipe for the auditorium was torrija, but she changed it a little from the usual method and cooked it with sweet chestnut sauce. The sauce is made by cooking the chestnuts along with cinnamon, star aniseed and sugar (one and a half litres of water to one kilogram of chestnuts). These ingredients produce a purée which leads to the final chestnut sauce.

The chef used sliced bread for the "torrijas", which she daubed with the chestnut sauce as a sandwich. She then dipped it in warm milk, removed the excess liquid, and applied beaten egg. The next step was frying with oil and salt. Justa then removed the excess oil and added sugar.