This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Clare Burnett in her The Business Desk in Yorkshire has collected five typically Basque dishes. They were selected by Greg Lewis, the head chef at –Pintura “Basque Kitchen and Bar “-.
This is a bar/restaurant in Leeds that has just celebrated its first anniversary and that, according to their website, is inspired by the vibrant and enthusiastic food culture of the Basque region. It’s obvious that their definition of the Basque region is a bit ambiguous, as it includes Basque gastronomy within a genre called “Spanish gastronomy”, but on the other hand includes products that are extremely Basque and not at all Spanish, such as Bayonne ham. But, of course, we can’t really complain that those around the world who talk about us don’t get every detail right, when we Basques have that same problem.
We’ll repeat, once again, the definition that we generally include here. Basque gastronomy is not part of Spanish or French culture based on the simple fact that it’s from a culture that existed long before the creation of those two European nation-states.
If a Basque dish is prepared in Biarritz, it’s not part of Spanish cuisine; that same plate prepared in Getaria is not part of French cuisine, so the conclusion is obvious: it’s Basque cuisine.
But getting back to the story. The head chef at the Pintura restaurant has included five dishes that for him capture the spirit of Basque cuisine. It’s an eclectic mix, in which we can find everything from rice to duck. However, what really jumps out is the Basque omelette, or potato omelette, which is called “Basque” on his menu.
This is not the first time we’ve found this name given, with good reason, to the potato omelette. Five years ago, we wrote about the “World Basque Omelette Day”, given the number of references to it.
Almost all of us not the story that Zumalacarregui attributes to the “invention” of this dish, during one of the Carlist sieges of Bilbao. In the north of the peninsula, potatoes, along with corn, took strong hold at the beginning of the 18th century, just like in other parts of Europe where traditional crops didn’t offer good yields because of the terrain or climate. The potato was even more present in the mountains; for example, at the beginning of the 19th century, there are documents that describes how in the north of Navarre, the most humble people commonly ate eggs mixed with potatoes.
The Business Desk – 1/4/2016 – Gran Bretaña
Top 5 Basque dishes according to Pintura’s head chef
From Tortilla Vasca to the world’s naughtiest Mac and Cheese, here are Greg’s 5 dishes that sum up Basque cooking at its best.