Basque Tuna Casserole (Marmitako)
This dish was traditionally prepared aboard Basque tuna boats fishing in the Cantabrian Sea where it was called marmitako, which means literally 'from the pot'. In the Cantabrian dialect spoken on the west coast, it’s called sorropotún, while the name used on the east and central coast comes from ‘marmita’, the Spanish word for a lidded metal pot (marmite in French).
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, finely diced
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large green capsicums, diced
1 large red capsicums, diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (see notes)
1 teaspoon piment de espelette (see notes)
400g canned Italian tomatoes, chopped
500g potatoes, chipped (see notes)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fish stock
700g tuna, cut into chunks
Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add capsicums, paprika and piment de espelette, and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, until capsicum is soft and slightly coloured
Add tomato, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, add wine, bring to the boil, then add stock. Return to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender.
Add tuna, salt and pepper and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes and serve.
Smoked paprika is available from specialty food stores and adds a lovely earthy aroma. This dish would traditionally use whole Spanish dried red peppers called pimientos choriceros which are rehydrated in water and then the flesh scraped into the dish with the skin discarded; as these can be difficult to find in Australia we’ve substituted another Spanish dried pepper, piment de espelette, which is available from www.herbiesspices.com.au – if you can find the dried peppers, use 4. ‘Chipping’ potatoes involves breaking them into uneven chunks with a small knife, this creates a rougher texture which helps the starch to be released into the sauce, thickening it.
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