|Jangada at Mucuripe beach|
|Map from 1629 showing Ponta Mucuripe|
The first seafood restaurant in Mucuripe was opened back in 1958, when Mucuripe was a separate village, by Alfredo Louzada de Souza. He named the restaurant after himself, and in later years added the nickname he earned from the fame of his most famous dish - Alfredo, O Rei da Peixada, or The King of Peixada. The restaurant is still flourishing today, as is the next door restaurant owned by Alfredo's son, Marquinho. It's called, naturally, Marquinhos Delícias Cearenses.
Alfredo didn't invent peixada out of the clear blue sky. Fish stews and chowders are common dishes all along the coast of Brazil, with local variations in every region. But it was Alfredo who codified the ingredients for peixada cearense, and today his recipe is almost universally recognized as ur-peixada.
Afredo's peixada is centered around thick-cut fish steaks from any of a number of local species cooked in a broth with a good dose of coconut milk, augmented by pieces of cabbage, tomato, potato, green pepper and whole hard-boiled eggs. Obligatory accompaniments are plain white rice and fish pirão.
Peixada is a substantial dish and a meal in itself. And for many who eat it, whether in Ceará or far away, it's the one dish that carries with it the history and flavor of the once-upon-a-time seaside fishing village that was Mucuripe.