The name Roupa Velha (Old Rags) dutifully belongs to the dish that is made for lunch on December 25. Usually, on Christmas Eve (now isn't it crazy of me to talk about Christmas in June??? But I love "roupa velha", so there...).
As I was saying, on Christmas Eve traditionalists eat a boiled dinner of codfish, potatos, eggs and kale, the whole thing well seasoned with olive oil. Usually, there are friends and family coming over and the host always makes a good quantity so that everyone can feast to their hearts content. The day after, the leftovers are usually cut up and heated with a good portion of olive oil with enough onions and garlic, and named Old Rags, a nice moniker for leftovers. Today, it is the cooking method rather than the ingredients that names the dish, although I still think that it has to involve fish, potatoes, and greens.
To make this dish I really went for old stuff I had around...some frozen fish I had lingering in the freezer for a while, some potatoes that were already trying to become plants, frozen spinach, eggs, lots of onion and garlic and, of course, olive oil.
There are really no set portions for this recipe. You can increase or decrease the portions of any ingredient to your heart's content. Do not try to save on olive oil though or the dish will be dry.
1 lb package of frozen fish filets
4 or 5 potatoes
1 10oz package frozen spinach
3 medium onions, sliced
4 large cloves garlic (more or less to taste)
olive oil (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
Boil the fish until cooked, drain and flake. Peel and cut the potatoes in cubes of about 1-inch in size and steam until cooked. Boil the eggs to the hard stage. Let spinach thaw and squeeze a little if it is too soggy. Peel and slice the onions and garlic.
In a large enough pot heat the olive oil and fry the onions and garlic in a low heat for about 12 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the fish, potatoes, and spinach and mix the whole lot with a wooden spoon to mix well with the olive oil. Cook over low heat until all the ingredients are hot. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Divide into four plates. To each plate add a quartered hard-boiled egg and black olives to taste.