brodetto (fish stew) Ancona style
brodetto, a fish stew with a tomato base, is a specialty of the Marche region of Italy. there are several recipes for brodetto, even within the Marche. this recipe belongs to the provence of Ancona. in this recipe, we are using fish available to the southern united states.
2 1/2 to 3 pounds of mixed fish - swordfish, orange roughy, squid, red snapper, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster. clean the clams and mussels well and put them into the stew whole. when i make brodetto for a large group, i cook the whole lobster in the stew. then i remove the meat from the tail, chop it and put it in the stew. i put the whole remaining lobster shell on top for presentation.
1 onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, pureed or peeled and mashed
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 cup white vinegar or 1 cup white wine
salt and pepper
about 3 cups fish stock
6 slices firm bread (one per person)
cut fish into large pieces. heat olive oil in large saucepan, dutch oven, or preferable, a clay pot. add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley and red pepper flakes. cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
add tomatoes and cook about 15 minutes. then add fish, beginning with the fish that takes the longest to cook. add pepper and salt. add vinegar (or wine). when wine has evaporated, add fish stock. the amount of fish stock is determined by the amount of liquid in the pot. th brodetto should be very soupy. cover and cook 15 minutes.
toast the bread and place a slice at the bottom of each person's bowl. ladle brodetto over bread and serve immediately.
some versions of brodetto use saffron instead of red pepper flakes and white wine instead of vinegar. also, you can substitute rice for bread.
1 or 2 pounds of throw-away parts of fish
3 ribs celery
3 quarts water
put all ingredients in a large pot and boil gently for 2 hours. strain. you may freeze extra stock.