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Ahi tuna marmitako with green split peas

Elena F. Guiral 

Ahi tuna is one of the most common varieties of fish that you can find in the Seattle area local markets. Ahi is a Hawaiian adjective to name the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) found in pelagic waters of tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.

Yellowfin tuna is widely used in raw fish dishes, especially sashimi, and is often served seared rare. This fish is also excellent for grilling too and is is becoming a popular replacement for the severely depleted supplies of southern bluefin tuna.

pesca bonitoBonito del Norte is a kind of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, also called white tuna that is caught in the Cantabrian Sea, in the North Shore of Spain. This fish live through the winter in the waters around the Azores and they move in late spring to the Cantabrian Sea. It is during these migrations when the campaign starts and it ends around September. It involves ships from Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and France.

Bonito del Norte is one of our most traditional and appreciated fish, great for preparing traditional recipes and to be canned too. One of this recipes is Marmitako, prepared in the Basque country, a top cookin g region in Spain.

Marmitako is a really popular dish in Spain, because being an oily fish, It is highly valued in the recent nutrition trends. This recipe is usually one of the top plates of culinary competitions of any Cantabrian and Basque festival, especially in coastal locations. As I´ve received green split peas in my delivery from PNW Co-op Specialty foods, I thought an ahi tuna marmitako, Pacific NW version, would be a good recipe to start to play with this delicious staples.

Dry sweet peas are difficult to find in Spain, we usually buy them frozen or canned. It was the first time I was dealing with them so I decided to treat them as any other legume soaking them in water the previous day.

Surprisingly these sweet peas are so tender that after cooking for half an hour I realized that they´ve been overcooked. Damn it! So I needed to go through plan B and I decided to keep them for a veggie soup… But this is another story and other recipe. So I finally I added a new supply to the tuna stew with no previous soaking and cooking.

I usually write about easy, quick healthy recipes in the blog. Marmitako is not complicated but It requires longer time than other of my meal suggestions. Anyway is a perfect entertainment for a rainy cold Sunday evening, and believe me, we have plenty of those here in Seattle duringour long winters.

Altough you´re used to see ahi tuna in sashimi and poke most of the time, I encourage you to try this winter Spanish traditional version. Enjoy it!

Ahi tuna marmitako


Ahi tuna, 1 pound

1 big onion

Ripe tomatoes, 0,5 pounds

Potatoes, 2 pounds

PNW Co-op sweet peas, 3,5 ounces

Piquillo peppers, 4 ounces

Red chilli

2 garlic cloves


Bay leaves

Extra virgin olive oil, 4 spoons

Goya or Old Bay seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Pan fry  the tuna, skinless and boneless, and cut it into 1 inch cubes. Once the tuna is rare cooked remove and reserve it. Add finely chopped onion and stir with a wooden spoon until It has golden colour, about 6 minutes over low heat. Add Peeled and crushed tomatoes and stir them. Add the potatoes cut into thick slices and the green split peas and cover everything in water. Add salt moderately.

Crush the garlic in the mortar with some salt and parsley. Dissolve a couple of tablespoons of the broth in the mix. Add it to the stew with the bay leaf and the  chilli. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Then add the ahi tuna, the seasoning mix and the piquillo peppers. Boil everything 10 minutes and serve it in the same pan.

I recommend to pair it with white wine. If you want to go local try any Riesling as Chateau Saint Michelle. And If you want to go global, Spain DO Albariño or DO Rueda Verdejo wines will be a perfect fit for the tuna. Cheers!

Marmitako II

Healthy life Products Uncategorized

Truffle from Soria: the Spanish black diamond

IMG_4250The black truffle, or Tuber melanosporum , is a winter fungus appreciated in restaurants for its special aroma and flavor it brings to all kinds of dishes, bringing nuances that reflect the essence of the land and forest. Despite its scarcity and high price, the demand for truffle growing every day.

Soria is one of the three major Spanish producing provinces of black truffle, along with Huesca and Teruel. Has 1,700 hectares for planting, whose production accounts for over 30 % of the national market.

The quality of the truffle from Soria has transcended borders and much of the production is sold in England, Germany or United States. The experts emphasize that the altitude of the province and its climatic conditions give the black truffle and special aroma and remarkable texture over other truffles.

The rains this year and good early autumn temperatures have favored a campaign that could reach a total number of  5,000 kilos (11,000 pounds). Calculate the cost-effectiveness of the province is always difficult, because the market is not regulated.  the Truffle Soria Association estimate is around  $9 million.

The price per pound , which last year was around $680 , could lower this season , which runs from 1 December to mid- March. In fact, the first prices are handled are around $480 per pound.

Soria Truffle association continues to work to achieve a quality mark that distinguishes the Tuber melanosporum from Soria in the most important international markets.


Great Spanish chefs as Pepe Rodríguez (El Bohio), Luis Alberto Lera ( Mesón El Labrador) , Óscar Perez and Pedro Mario (El Ermitaño), Víctor Martin (Trigo) or Mario Sandoval (Coque) , among others, exalt the special aroma of the black truffle from Soria and use it fresh in season to prepare their dishes. Even one of the most successful chefs, Martín Berasategui, says that Soria black truffle is “the Rolls Royce of truffles from Spain .”

One of the chefs who has worked and extolled the great potential of the black truffle from Soria is Óscar García, from his restaurant Baluarte. The Academy of Gastronomy and Food of Castilla y León recognized their work recently. IMG_4258

The menu of the day dedicated to the black truffle from Soria included the following courses:

– Our trufal
– Seasonal vegetables with truffle, prawn and mushroom soup
-Potato – truffle with candied rib
-Squid ragout, truffles, chestnuts and walnuts
-Truffled – egg
– Octopus , cabbage, truffle and dashi soup
– Bresse Pigeon with rice and mushrooms
– Ice cream with chocolate truffle

The black truffle can praise all kinds of dishes . It can be taken raw laminated or can be added to a stew or soup. It is also used for flavoring eggs , oils and cheeses.


Healthy life Uncategorized

Mediterranean diet decalogue: more than a lifestyle

ImagenThe Mediterranean diet is a well to protect. Like this it understood it the UNESCO when it declared it Immaterial Heritage of the Mankind in 2010, thanks to the initiative of four communities of Spain (Soria), Italy, Morocco and Greece. It is considered like one of the healthiest of the world, and no only by the use and combination of ingredients, but also by a series of traditional practices related with the feeding.

The UNESCO considers that in the nutritional model of this diet, that has remained constant through the time and of the space, the main ingredients are the oil of olive, the cereals, the fruits and cool or dry vegetables, a moderate proportion of meat, fish and dairy products, and abundant condiments and spices, whose consumption in the table accompanies of wine or infusions, respecting always the beliefs of each community. The Mediterranean diet –whose name comes of the Greek word diaita, that wants to say way of life– does not comprise only the feeding, since it is a cultural element that favourable the social interaction; that’s explains that the foods in common are an angular stone of the social habits and of the celebration of festive events.


“To the trilogy wheat, vineyard and olivo, to the legumbres, to the vegetables, to the fruits, to the fish, to the cheeses or the yoghourt, to the nuts it is necessary to add an essential condiment, perhaps a basic ingredient: the sociability”, signals Lluís Serra, President of the Foundation Mediterranean Diet, in the book: ‘Ánima Mediterránea’, by Bernd H. Knöller And Xavier Mollà.

The experts think that the prevailing globalization is changing our alimentary habits and is putting in danger the survival of a diet that sinks his roots in the history.


One of the impulsores from Spain of the candidature of the Mediterranean diet to Immaterial Heritage of the Mankind, the doctor Juan Manuel Ruiz Liso, elaborated the fundamental decalogue to follow this type of feeding:

1.- You will take oil of virgin olive all the days of your life

2.- You won´t forget bread and cereals in any meal

3.- The fruit will accompany you every day

4.- You will eat salad daily 

5.-You will abuse from Vegetables and legumes 

6.- You won´t live without fish

7.- Daily milk you will drink

8.- You will not exceed the consumption of saturated fats

9.- Working and leisure will go together

10.- You will eat with company as often as possible

On the Foundation of the Mediterranean Diet web can find interesting medical articles on the health benefits of this diet, plus weekly menus and recipes as described below:

Vegetables (Pisto) with eggs


Ingredients for four people:

2 medium red or green peppers

2 medium tomatoes

2 medium eggplants

4 garlic cloves

4 medium eggs

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp paprika



How to do:

Wash pepper, remove seeds and cut into strips. Peel the tomatoes and garlic and finely chop separately. Wash eggplants, remove the ends and cut into cubes.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and cook to heat the peppers for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and eggplant and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Grind salt, make some holes among the vegetables and drop the raw eggs in them. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the egg white curd. Lightly salt and pepper the eggs and serve the dish with bread.