Brodetto di Branzino

Brodetto di Branzino

Located along the Adratic coast, Abruzzo is an Italian region known for its brodetto, a stew traditionally made by fishermen from the catch of the day that did not sell at the market, paired with seasonal vegetables.

Today, many of these originally cucina povera ("poor cooking") recipes, which feature simple, readily-available ingredients, are celebrated as classic Italian dishes. Serve with a refreshing Verdicchio, a classic pairing to this fish stew.

Brodetto di Branzino (Wild Sea Bass Soup)
Recipe courtesy of Eataly

Yield: 6 servings

For the Fish Stock:
Fish bones from 1 large fish, rinsed in cold water
4 fennel stalks, cut in large pieces
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 onion, cut in large pieces
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon peppercorns
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Brodetto:
3 cups wild striped bass fillet, cubed
1 (14-ounce) can cherry tomatoes
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lemon
10 sprigs parsley, leaves removed & chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

To make the fish stock:
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, fennel, and a pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until they have released some of their liquid and have become soft. Add the fish bones and the wine, and cook until the alcohol evaporates.

Add the peppercorns and enough water to cover the fish bones. Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the bones out of the broth.

To prepare the brodetto:
Place enough olive oil in a large stockpot to cover its bottom and place it over medium heat.  Add the garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook until it is soft. Add the tomatoes and the fish stock.  Let the pot simmer for 10 minutes.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, and add the fish. Cover the pot, and allow the fish to just cook through. Season the brodetto with salt and the pepper flakes to taste.

Finish the dish with a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley, and serve.

Chef's note: For the most authentic version of this recipe, substitute the wild sea bass with the fish of the day.


Buon appetito!