Marmitako Recipe: A Fishermen’s Dish

 

Marmitako recipe is traditional in the Basque country and really common in the North of Spain. It’s also called Marmita or Sorropotun in Cantabria. It’s a delicious fish and potato stew.

If you don’t know Marmitako yet, you have to try this recipe. And if you have, well, you know what I’m talking about.

The original recipe is made with fresh albacore tuna but you can replace it by (fresh) sardines or salmon. It will be as good.

The word Marmitako means literally in Basque “from the stock pot”. The cooks from the fishing boats needed to prepare a consistent meal for the fishermen so they used the cheaper and most common fish, the albacore tuna. They used to prepare their Marmitako recipe with onions, potatoes, red pepper and tomato. Before potatoes’ introduction in Spanish cuisine – on the XIX century – Marmitako recipe was made with chestnuts or turnips.

 

Marmitako recipe

 

Preparation time:20 min – Cooking time:40 min

 

Ingredients for 4 servings

12.25 oz (350 g) of fresh albacore tuna fish
4 potatoes (1.1lb /500 g)
1 Spanish sun-dried choricero red pepper (To be re-hydrated in a bowl of water for 24h before cooking)
2 fresh peppers (red or green ore one of each)
1 big onion
1 tomato
1 chilli pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 1/2 cups (60 cl) of water or even better, homemade fish stock
1 wine glass (20 cl) of dry white wine
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 branch of thyme
1 laurel leave
2 teaspoons of sweet pimentón (smoked paprika)
a pinch of salt and pepper

 


Directions:

1. The day before, you should re-hydrate the dried red pepper by submerging it into a bowl of water. If you forgot this first step, don’t worry about it, you can always rehydrate it by cooking it for 1 hour in boiling water.

2. Peel garlic cloves and onion.

3. Rinse the peppers and dry them with a clean cloth. Cut them open and discard seeds and hard top. Chop peppers and onion into small cubes.

4. If you have a grater with large holes, use it to grate tomato and discard peel. If you don’t: get water to a boil, put tomato in it for 10 seconds (13 seconds if it’s under ripe). Get it out, leave it chill for a bit and peel it. Then cut tomato pulp into small pieces. Set aside.

5. Cut albacore tuna fish into 1.5 inches cubes. Cover and refrigerate.

6. Heat olive oil in a stew pot over medium heat. Fry garlic cloves with laurel leaves and a branch of thyme.

7. Once garlic is slightly brown, add pepper and onion.

8. After a couple of minutes, when onion is translucent, add wine and turn up the heat so the alcohol evaporates.

9. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, wash them and dry them with a clean cloth.

10. Potatoes have to be cut in cachelos. This means you need to start cutting a piece of potato by introducing the knife as usual. But instead of cutting all the way through, you tear out the potato piece. You’ll hear a crack sound. Those cachelos should be around 1 or 2 inches wide. The most important is that all potato pieces should be around the same size. So cooking time is the same for all.

11. Once the alcohol has evaporated – means if you put your nose over the stew pot, the smell isn’t burning your lungs anymore – add the sweet pimentón and the mashed tomato. Cook it for a couple of minutes.

12. Add potatoes and try to combine all ingredients without breaking the potato’s cachelos. The best way is to move the whole stew pot.

13. Add water or fish stock so it covers the whole mixture. Add chilli pepper and get it to boil.

14. Cut the rehydrated choricero pepper lengthwise. Add it on top – Do not soak it!

15. Reduce heat leaving a gentle boil and leave it for 25 minutes.

16. Take both rehydrated pepper pieces. Get the inside part with a spoon and combine it to your dish. Discard peel. Cook for 5 more minutes or until potatoes are ready – Try one to be sure

17. Turn off heat, add tuna fish and cover stew pot for 5 minutes.

That’s it! Ready to serve. Take out laurel leaf and thyme branch and enjoy.

Don’t forget to cut some bread. You’ll definitely want to dip in Marmitako sauce.

 

Cooking Technique Tip

Chascar potatoes

Chascar literally means “to crack”. When using this cooking technique you should start cutting a piece of potato by introducing your knife and tear off the potato piece so you hear a “crack” sound from the potato. It helps liberate the potato starch, so the dish sauce gets more consistent.

Did you cook this Marmitako recipe ? If so, let us know how you liked it in the comment section. And if not, you can still join the conversation. We’d love to have your impressions.

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