last week we said goodbye to the Greek cuisine, but we are not ready yet to leave the Mediterranean. We have one last stop before stirring into a totally different direction, so take out your Spanish grammar book because for the next five weeks we will experience the unique, flavorful world of Spanish cuisine!
Spain, like France and Italy, is split into many different regions and local cultures that offer a large variety of culinary traditions and flavors. We decided to start our journey through Spain by starting from the northern Basque region, to continue then with central, coastal and southern regions.
The Basque country was named by its inhabitants, the Basque, who were people that lived between Spain, France and the Atlantic coast. The differences within its population translate in inhomogeneous traditions, languages and cuisine. However Basque people have one common feature: their passion for food. Whether you like fish or meat, the Basque region will not leave you unsatisfied! Believe it or not, most of the Basque inhabitants dedicate time and money to food and gastronomic activities. High quality and fresh ingredients are fundamental in the Basque cuisine which offers both seafood ,especially along the coast, and meat which prevails inland. Vegetables, like beans, peppers, potatoes and most of all mushrooms, are also often present in their dishes.
And it’s a seafood dish that we selected as first Spanish recipe, a fish stew that was served as daily menu on the fishing boats in the Carabrian Sea and that today the appreciation for tuna and its nutritional properties (omega 3 fatty acids and proteins) has made even more popular: Marmitako.
Marmitako is a fresh tuna and potato stew which takes its name after the word “marmita“, Spanish for “casserole”. With its fresh and available ingredients, Marmitako was the perfect dish out of the pot for people that had to spend a lot of time on the sea.
The technique of cracking open the potatoes so that they release more starch makes it a filling and tasty dish. This recipe uses some ingredients, but feel free to play with the vegetables you like the most, as long as they are fresh!
Ingredients (serves 4):
3 Red bellpeppers
1 Large white or yellow onion
1 Large green pepper
2 Cloves garlic
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
2 lbs (1 kg) Potatoes
1 lb (.5 kg) Fresh tuna
4 cups (32 oz) Water (or chicken stock)*
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
In a small saucepan heat some water on high. Remove it before it boils. Put the red peppers into the hot water and let them soak.
Chop the onion, carrot, green pepper and garlic. In a deep casserole pour olive oil and saute’ onion, carrot, pepper and garlic until translucent.
In the meantime peel the potatoes and cute them in 1.5″ cubes. Add them to the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
Add water to the vegetables until they are completely covered. Simmer until the potatoes are starting to soften.
Remove the peppers from the water and drain them. Peel off the skin and add them to the mix. Stir every now and then.
Rinse the dry tuna, remove any skin and cut into 2″ cubes. Add it to the pot and salt to taste. Cover loosely and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the tuna is cooked.
Seve with crusty bread and if desired sprinkle with some chopped parsley.