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Lourdes Water in Cooking - What is it and How to Prepare it?

Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova
Tasty Turbot

The famous Lourdes Water is ordinary water, which is believed to have miraculous healing properties. It springs in Santuario De Lourdes in France, a complex of religious buildings with several basilicas dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church believes that in this place the saint appeared before eyewitnesses and hence the miraculous power of the water, which springs from this place.

In this article, however, we will talk about another liquid of the same name and we will pay more attention to it. Whether it is as miraculous as the one with the same name, you can judge for yourself.

Lourdes Water

It all started in the 60's, when in the Basque town of Getaria a man named Pedro Arregi created the Cathedral of the Fish. At that time, the villages and towns there were mainly devoted to fishing and for them it was a religion and art - from catching to cooking the fish itself.

After some reforms of the so-called Cathedral, in the year 88' opened the restaurant Elkano, as it exists today.

It is rapidly gaining popularity and is visited and praised by customers and critics of all types - from the most ordinary to the most sophisticated and demanding.

The restaurant soon won its first Michelin star. Their grilled fish and especially turbot had something unique and different that was not found anywhere else and it was not just the quality of fresh fish.

Pedro Arregui did not betray the old tradition of preparing Orio-style fish in this area and together with his wife they invented and applied a secret ingredient, to mark their own individuality. When asked what his secret was, he mysteriously replied - Lourdes, by looking at his wife.

Cooking turbot

They did not disclose what the water in question contained until his death.

Pedro's son, Aitor, took over the business after his father's death and together with his wonderful team, they continue to cook according to the tradition imposed by his parents.

However, Aitor reveals the long-kept secret of the famous mysterious ingredient and explains in an interview that in fact Lourdes water in their kitchen is a kind of marinade, dressing, which in addition to hydrating the fish while it is baked, it is poured over it when being served.

For example, turbot is really magical, because the gelatin in this fish and its juices mix with the dressing and something fabulous happens. In fact, the fish itself, properly cooked, does the magic, not so much the "secret ingredient."

In the Orio-style known for the area, acid is used for pouring over the fish and it is vinegar, but Pedro Arregi added a mixture of citrus instead of traditional vinegar. Lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit juices covered the fish with additional flavor.

Sometimes ingenious things are actually very simple.

Delicious turbot

Here's proof, that we can easily prepare Lourdes water and cook turbot or other white fish at home. It doesn't even have to be grilled, it can be prepared in a pan or in the oven.

Mix freshly squeezed citrus juices with olive oil and salt and grease the fish while it is baking. Then fry sliced ​​garlic together with dry hot pepper in olive oil. Pour more citrus juice and as soon as it boils, cover the cooked fish with it.

Try it for yourself and feel the magic of this long-kept secret.

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