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Cooking clubs in Basqueland

Spain's Basque region exerts a powerful influence on global cuisine, Dan Saladino finds out why. Heston Blumenthal and writer Harold Mcgee provide insights into this food culture.

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30 minutes

Last on

Mon 14 Nov 2016 15:30

Caroline Conran's Recipe for Marmitako: A Tuna Fish Soup

Taken from By the Atlantic (Prospect Books)

Apparently this soup-stew began life on the Basque fishing boats; onions, potatoes and dried peppers will all last a month or two on board a boat, so all that needed to be done was to catch the tuna. Instead of potatoes, you could try adding the sweetness and golden colour of pumpkin or squash.

500g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh tuna

2 dried choricero or ancho chillies

250g (9 oz) small red potatoes or 1 acorn squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed

6 tablespoons olive oil 1

 large red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, grilled  

2 teaspoons paprika

250ml (81⁄2 fl oz) white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Cut the fish, skin removed, into chunks and salt it for 30 minutes. Pour boiling water over the chillies and let them soak until soft.

The potatoes are not cut, but broken into chunks the size of a chestnut, by inserting a knife or an oyster shucker and levering bits off. The rough surfaces will release their starch to thicken the soup.

Open the softened dried peppers, remove the seeds, and scrape up the inner pulp from the skins with a knife. Chop the pulp a bit, as it can be stringy.

Heat the olive oil and add the onion; let it soften then add the garlic and choricero or ancho pepper pulp, stir well and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the red pepper cut in small pieces, the paprika, the potatoes or squash, and the white wine. Let it bubble for a few minutes. Add 1 litre (35 fl oz) of water to cover well and season with salt. Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat.

Add the fish and chopped parsley and bring to a quick simmer. Turn off the heat and allow to stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Flake the pieces of tuna carefully, Spoon potatoes and soup into bowls and place the flaked tuna on top, then serve with bread. (Serves 4)


Role Contributor
Presenter Dan Saladino
Interviewed Guest Heston Blumenthal
Interviewed Guest Harold McGee


  • Sun 13 Nov 2016 12:32
  • Mon 14 Nov 2016 15:30

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