The Brodetto Fish Stew is a traditional dish of the coast of the Marche region. Originally, fishermen and fish merchants made the stew to use up small fish and seafood that wouldn’t sell well in the markets. It was considered “cucina povera”, the food of fishermen and peasants. However, over time more cuts and types of seafood got added to the mix and it became appreciated for its unique flavour. What makes the Brodetto fish stew special is its versatility: you can throw in whatever seafood you like and it will still be delicious!
The Brodetto fish stew is made from mixed fish along with crustaceans and calamari. But this dish has a few different versions. People from San Benedetto del Tronto add peppers and a dash of vinegar. Others from southern Abruzzo add tomatoes and hot sauce. Finally, the versions around Ancona have a few tomatoes and lots of wine. Give each of these a try!
BRODETTO FISH STEW RECIPE
Mixed fish (mullet, sole, rockfish, dogfish, cod, turbot, bass, mackerel, etc.)
Crustaceans (shrimp, mussels, clam) and a few calamari if you desire
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion, minced
½ to 1 cup tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes with juice
A pinch of peperoncino (chili peppers)
A handful of fresh parsley, minced
A handful of celery leaves, minced
1 cup of white wine
Heat a few spoons of olive oil in a stock pot and saute the garlic and onion. When they look golden, add the parsley and celery leaves to the stock pot and saute for a few minutes until wilted. Add the mixed fish cut into pieces and stir-fry for a few minutes. Pour in the wine and let it steam the fish for a few more minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce along with some water to cover the fish. Sprinkle in the peperoncino, salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Uncover the pot and add the crustaceans and calamari. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the shells open and the crustaceans are ready. Serve hot and eat with pieces of bread or bruschetta.