Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brodetto alla Pescarese

This is my take on a classic Italian dish. A brodetto is a seafood stew often prepared by fishermen along the Adriatic sea using whatever fresh fish is available to them. Thus, the fish used in a brodetto almost always varies, and, to add to the complexity, a brodetto may also contain shrimp, mussels, clams and/or calamari.

The spices used in a brodetto also vary from town-to-town and region-to-region. In this recipe, I focus on spices and flavors that are emblematic of Abruzzo -- crushed red pepper and saffron. I do not provide measurements for the spices because I go by taste, adding a little at a time until I achieve the desired taste.


(serves approx. 6-8)
A Chef Bolek Original

2.5 pounds of fish, preferably different types (such as red snapper, bluefish, turbot and/or tilapia)
1.5 pounds of shellfish, preferably 16-20 count shrimp
2 cans of whole tomatoes (canned with tomato puree and basil)
2 cans of water
1.5 cups of a dry white wine (preferably a Trebbiano d'Abruzzo)
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 medium sized shallot, diced
1 large onion, sliced
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Saffron stands, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Olive oil
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Mixed peppercorns, ground, to taste
Baguette, sliced

Pour a little olive oil into a pot and heat to medium. Add the onion and shallots and cook for a few minutes. Then add the garlic. Cook until the onions, shallots and garlic are translucent.

Add the whole tomatoes, water and the white wine. Mix the ingredients together with a slotted spoon, breaking up the tomatoes. Add the crushed red pepper, saffron, dried basil, salt and ground pepper. Continue to mix. This is the base of the brodetto and it should simmer for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the fish and allow the fish to cook for a few minutes. Then add the shrimp. Once the fish and shrimp are cooked through, remove the brodetto from the heat.

Toast the baguette slices and put a slice at the bottom of each bowl. Spoon the brodetto into each bowl and top the brodetto with flat leaf parsley.

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