March 17, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Food and wine, Spain

We recently moved house. Along with that came more space, a central location, and the image of a fellow on my front door. Yep, it’s Jesus – make that Door-Jesus.

Door-Jesus reminds me that I am indeed in a country predominantly filled with Catholics. That’s cool. I like Door-Jesus and I’m down with all religions, so no problems here. These last days, as I unlock my front door he stares back at me, Door-Jesus has also been reminding me that it is lent. That time of year when Catholics and often non-Catholics alike make 40-day resolutions. (Incidentally, I’m also reminded of the last time I observed lent, which was in college. I abstained from chocolate for 40 days and finished the stint by binging on my forbidden friend and gaining some 10 lbs. No more lent for me!) Along with this tradition, people typically forgo eating meat on Fridays. So, in that spirit, my mother-in-law has a slew of vegetarian-ish dishes that she serves this time of year. Last year I introduced you to potaje de vigilia, and this year I present you with purrusalda. Ta da!

Purrusalda, meaning salsa de puerro (leek sauce) in Basque, is a Spanish stew originating from Basque Country (duh). Its main ingredient is leek, but many ingredients can be used from other veggies, to meat, to fish. It’s not terribly attractive (particularly in this picture), but it’s tasty, healthy, and super easy to make.

Let’s get to it – here are your marching orders:

    5-6 yellow potatoes (in Spain they call them potatoes for cooking)
    2 leeks
    4 pieces of de-salted cod
    Olive oil
    Water
    Flour

For the cod, you will want to make sure to either de-salt it, or buy already de-salted cod…or if this seems too intimidating (I’m intimidated just typing it), pick another ingredient (our housecleaner swears that clams beat cod when it comes to making an amazing purrusalda).

Chop the leeks, dice the potatoes, and break the cod into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot, fill the bottom with olive oil, about a centimeter or so high, and heat it up. Saute the leeks in the olive oil until they’re soft. Then add the potatoes, followed by thoroughly mixing in a couple heaping spoonfuls of flour (to add thickness). Now, fill the pot with hot water until it covers the potatoes. With the temperature on high, stir the mixture. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the temperature and cover the stew so that it can cook slowly. When the potatoes are just about cooked (about a half hour or so), add in the fish, which will take only a few minutes to cook. Finally, add salt if needed.

And there you have it – purrusalda! Door-Jesus will be so proud.

*Speaking of yummy Spanish dishes, have you checked out the new La Tortuga Viajera recipe section?

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