With Le Marche resting comfortably on the Adriatic, it would be impossible to talk about the regional cuisine without finding a recipe that focuses on seafood. Brodetto is a classic fish stew, somewhat similar to cioppino. A recipe that goes back centuries, it has been said that there are as many variations of brodetto as their are towns along the Adriatic coast.
The constant among the Brodetto recipes is the fact that the soup features a tomato base and plenty of seafood. One of the oldest recipes for Brodetto comes from the Le Marche town of Ancona and calls for 13 different types of fish. Not having the time or resources to get 13 different kinds of fish, I chose to make a simplified version with shrimp, tilapia, and scallops. I didn't feel too bad about this since the original recipe was created in order to use the seafood that was fresh and available in the area. So, keeping with that mindset, I chose what was available to me; living in Maine I could have easily added lobster tail or clams as well. (If using clams or mussels, leaving some of them inside their shells when serving the soup.) Traditionally, this soup is also supposed to be served over a piece of grilled or toasted bread. I am vehemently against serving bread in my soup though, so I put the bread on the side. To me, that's the fun of cooking: making a recipe your own!
Adapted from About.com
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 eight ounce can of tomato sauce
1/6 cup vinegar
1 cup white wine
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound tilapia, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound shrimp
- In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- To the pot, add the tomato sauce, vinegar, wine, water, tomato paste, and parsley. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Let the mixture come to a boil to burn off the alcohol from the wine. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook about 30 minutes.
- Add the fish, followed by the scallops and shrimp. Cover and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, don't add the shrimp until the last 5 minutes or so. You want the shrimp to meld with the other flavors, but not overcook. Serve hot.
Ryan's rating of Brodetto - 5.