Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Brodetto

If you aren't afraid of it, I'm sure it's delicious.


For the stock:
  • Fish bones, (saved from the plaice and mullet) chopped into about 6 pieces
  • 1.5 quarts of water
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fennel, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 handful of parsley stalks
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt to taste
For the stew:
  • 1 plaice, filleted, reserving the bones
  • 1 mullet, (red or grey) filleted, reserving the bones
  • 4 large prawns, or 8 smaller ones
  • 5 oz mussels, cleaned
  • 5 oz clams
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the onion, fennel, and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add the fish bones and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface.
  3. Add the thyme and parsley.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Fry the fennel seeds and coriander in olive oil until fragrant. Add the onion, fennel, celery and garlic. Cook on low heat until translucent.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Strain the fish stock and add to the pot with the vegetables. Let simmer for one hour or until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
  8. Add the mussels, clams, prawns, and fish. Cover and cook for four or five minutes.
  9. Discard any mussels or clams that did not open.
  10. When the fish is flaky, it's ready to serve.

What we thought:

If you read the introduction to this meal, you already know what we thought. I boiled this long enough that any Vibrio that might have been in it were definitely dead, but I still did not enjoy it. Mental block, like I said.

My kids also did not enjoy it, but it was probably more of an "ew clams and mussels" thing for them than anything else. My husband also did not enjoy it, but he also has an "ew clams and mussels" thing so our assessment is really not completely fair. If you do like shellfish, it's probably delicious.


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