ISSUE 85  |  Travels with an Editor: Barcelona

Basque Cooking Demystified, from Aran Goyoaga

August 15, 2013 7:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

After growing up in Basque country, Aran Goyoaga moved to the United States. Fifteen years later, the cookbook author’s recipes still reflect her childhood memories. Says Goyoaga, “When people ask me what Basque cooking is all about, I say, ‘taking what is available and fresh, and preparing it as simply as possible.’ No big fuss. Knowing how to smell the fish and looking into its eyes to see how old it is.”

Are you wondering how Goyoaga puts that philosophy into practice when she’s trying to decide, on any given morning, what to cook for lunch and dinner? Let’s tag along with her on a typical day, as described on her blog Cannelle et Vanille:

Photographs by Aran Goyoaga.

Morning: “It has been hot in South Florida this past few days, reminding us that the cool weather that I love so much is leaving us soon,” says Goyoaga. 

In the garden: “This is the peak of the growing season,” she says. Visiting a local farm to get her weekly eggs (“and to say hello to the baby goats and chickens”), Goyoaga notices ripe tomatoes, squash ready to harvest, and flowering herbs.

The conversation: “What do you want to have for lunch?” her mother asks after breakfast.

“Let’s stop at Whole Foods, after the farmers’ market and see what kind of fish they have today,” Goyoaga says.

The verdict: At Whole Foods, the yellow-eyed snapper looks “fresh as can be.” So it will be fish soup for lunch.

The mid-morning snack: A bowl of cherry tomatoes with sea salt and olive oil.

The prep work: Fish stock, chopped vegetables, local clams, mussels, and Key West shrimp. 

Back to the garden: “There is one ripe strawberry at the moment,” says Goyoaga.

Inspired, her mother whips up a batch of arroz con leche.

Dessert: “I did manage to make a quick galette with leftover dough from the book shoot,” says Goyoaga. “I tossed together strawberries, rhubarb, apple, sugar, and chamomile leaves to make a super simple filling.”

Hungry yet? Check back tomorrow morning, when we’ll show you how to make Goyoaga’s recipe for watermelon gazpacho.

Published last year, Goyoaga’s first cookbook, Small Plates and Sweet Treats, is $19.98 from Amazon.

Looking for more seasonal recipes? See all of our favorite Garden-to-Table Recipes.