Espetada - Beef Brochettes Recipe
Espetada - Beef Brochettes
Total time: 15 to 30 minutes
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: Very fast - 8 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note
Madeirans always have an eye on the sea and love to go up to the mountains on Sundays or holidays and have a barbecue amidst the pine and eucalyptus forests. They always carry along a little coarse salt, a few cloves of garlic and olive oil. They know all the good butchers and grocers in the region and stop by the village for a piece of lombo, the loin, the best and most tender part of the beef.

Once the meat has been cut into cubes, sprinkled with chopped garlic and coarse salt and coated with olive oil, the men return with roughly trimmed bay branches to use as skewers. They are placed on the grill and from time to time given a shake with the side of the hand to knock off some of the coarse salt, stirring up the fire and keeping it very hot. If you are using a cut of lombo, nothing else needs to be added; otherwise, the skewer is suspended while, with a piece of aluminum foil, butter is wrapped around the uppermost piece of meat so that it trickles down over the whole brochette. In restaurants a faster method is used, in which the brochette is cooked plain and then coated with garlic butter.

Marinated version
- Cubes of Beef
- Chopped garlic
- Coarse salt
- Bay leaves

Marinated Version
This version is not as common in Madeira but is sometimes used for casual meals.

  1. Cut the meat into cubes; sprinkle with chopped garlic, coarse salt and ground bay leaf;
  2. Place equal parts Madeira wine and water in a bowl; marinate the meat in this mixture for 30 minutes;
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and place on paper towels; assemble the brochettes and grill.

Cooking and Presentation
The cubes of meat are placed onto metal skewers or a bay branch. The brochettes must not be placed in the flame or smoke, but rather close to the coals until the meat has reached the desired degree of doneness.

Espetadas are found in every Madeiran restaurant. They are so integral a part of traditional eating habits that a special wrought iron stand was developed with a T-shaped end, each branch of the "T" having a slot in the middle to hold a brochette. A small plate is then placed underneath to collect the juices. The brochettes are very long and have a V-shaped blade in order to more easily pierce the meat.

Extremely tasty, the brochettes are served on their own, with milho frito and fried potatoes or a garden salad.

More recipe ideas
With the collaboration of José Garcia, maitre d' of the Cliff Bay Resort Hotel
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