Discover the Basque Country

Marmitako, Basque Tuna Stew

Basque fishermen have plucked tuna from the sea for centuries, and this is one of their age old recipes.  The name comes from the Basque word marmita, referring to the simmering vessel used to create the dish.  The special delight in this recipe comes from giving the potatoes time to release their starch, slightly thickening the broth, and timing it to come together before the tuna becomes soggy.  Marmitako will fill and warm you on a cold day, but it is equally delicious on a hot summer day, the season when bonito tuna is abundant in the seas.

The recipe below comes from the “Basque Cooking” cookbook that can be purchased from San Sebastián Food here.

60 MINUTES (4 servings)
500g of fresh tuna, bones reserved
2 tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 dried choricero peppers, rehydrated
6 potatoes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 dash of white wine

Bring one litre of water in a large pot to a boil with the bones of the tuna.
Allow it to simmer for 20-30 minutes to make a quick stock for the dish.
Meanwhile, dice the peppers, onions and garlic.
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sauté until transparent. Add the green peppers, cooking for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the tomatoes.
De-glaze the pan with a dash of white wine. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Scrape out the flesh.
Grate the tomatoes to make a puree and added with garlic making a “sofrito”. Scrape the flesh of the choricero peppers and add to the mix. Using a knife, break the potatoes into small chunks and add to the pot.
Finally, add the stock until it covers the potatoes well. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about twenty minutes. Taste and check seasoning.
Add the tuna and take off the heat and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

basque cook bookBook compiled by Jon Warren, San Sebastián Food team & Marti Kilpatrick

Post by Jonathan McCallum

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