Marmitako is an incredibly popular and typical Basque dish that is one of our favourites, a fisherman’s boat stew, simple but brimming with flavour.
Originally beginning life on board the local fishing boats when out in high seas, it was the Basque fishermen – also known as “arrantzaleak” – who first came up with this recipe.
The Basque fishermen needed to prepare a hearty stew whilst out at high sea with minimal produce that could be loaded onto the boats and kept fresh. Renowned for its simplicity, richness and practicality, “marmitako” was born using potatoes, onions, peppers, tomato preserves that they carried on land and fresh “bonito” tuna that they caught.
Cooked in a large pot (marmitako means roughly “from the pot” in Basque) on the deck of the ship, it was also a moment to come together. What was caught side by side was enjoyed side by side.
There is no doubt that this “ritual” was a small oasis to warm up and regain strength, but above all, it was a moment to celebrate a strong, hard work ethic, friendship and life, as with a good bowl of marmitako, everything tasted better.
Marmitako has always been one of our signature dishes of the spring season. From those that you look forward to, after a whole winter remembering it, and with all summer ahead to enjoy it over and over again.
At Sagardi, this time of year, we like to serve this dish as a sincere tribute to the arrantzales or Basque fishermen. You too, with this marmitako recipe, can pay tribute from home. Of course, as you know, there is no magic formula, the secret lies in the produce, the sensitivity and experience.