What Is Linguica And What Does It Taste Like?

Portugal has contributed more than its share of tasty dishes (that are a mouthful to say) to the international culinary scene. From their national dish, bacalhau, which is a dried and salted codfish to their everyday comfort fare, caldo verde, a hearty vegetable and chorizo sausage soup (via Expatica), the country offers a rich variety of dishes for visitors to experience. Linguiça or linguisa (pronounced ling-gwee-suh) is one of those appetizing Portuguese delights worth exploring.

According to Delighted Cooking, linguiça is a sausage known for its garlicky, mildly spicy flavor. Don't let its name fool you; the sausage is made from pork butt — not tongue — which is cut into pieces and mixed with spices like oregano, paprika, garlic, pepper, cumin, and sometimes even cinnamon. At this point, sometimes the mixture is brined with vinegar and salt; alternatively, the mixture is allowed to sit, stuffed into casings, and then brined overnight. The savory sausage can be consumed immediately after brining, but more often is tempered with a smoking process that makes it flavorful, tender, and more durable. Usually, the sausage is refrigerated or frozen and cooked again before being eaten or added to soups or sandwiches.

Linguiça in hash, sandwiches, and more

Linguiça is used in a variety of Portuguese dishes. One traditional use for linguiça is adding the sausage to franceshina, a Portuguese sandwich. The tasty sandwich is packed with cured ham, linguica, and steak, oven-baked, and covered with melted cheese, sauce, and sometimes even an egg. And just when you think things couldn't possibly get better, the sandwich is often served with French fries and beer!

According to On the Gas, linguiça has become a big part of Central Valley California's culinary scene thanks to Manuel Martins of Silva Sausage. Martins started the company in 1967, and his linguiça became popular with the Portuguese community in San Jose. Today, Silva Sausage products are available in several states on the West Coast and beyond, and are used to make pizza, pasta, and soup. On the Gas's Portuguese Hash recipe combines Silva linguiça sausage with onions, potatoes, and garbanzo beans in a skillet to create a mouthwatering potato hash that is finished off with four eggs cracked and cooked on top. Talk about eating breakfast like a king!