When it comes to Dalmatian cuisine, nothing really embodies all its principles quite like brodet does. Deriving from the old Venetian word brodeto, or “broth,” brodet itself is very simple to make and versions of such seafood stews are found all over the Mediterranean.
Traditionally, a variety of fish ranging from thick white to oily is used but in this simplified albeit delicious version, we’re using ingredients readily at hand with a few tweaks here and there to make truly memorable.
The concept behind the recipe is summed up quite nicely here,
A fish must swim three times – once in the sea, once in olive oil, and once in wine!
Traditionally Dalmatian olive oil is used which is considered to be some of the best in the world but a good quality Italian extra virgin olive oil work just as well too.
To start, an oil-rich marinade with garlic, parsley and a slight touch of lemon juice is where it all begins. The seafood is tossed in and sits for about an hour.
Next, a simple base of olive oil with sautéed garlic, onions and fresh tomatoes and forms a canvas for fresh fish and other seafood. Final touches of fresh parsley and the final touch of crushed saffron strands is all it takes to take this dish truly over the top.
The simplicity of the ingredients truly underplays the incredible flavors that the final product truly embodies. Some creamy polenta or crust bread at the end, a glass of vino and life is good!
Let's do this!
A Dalmatian Classic! Seafood Brodet from Croatia
Shopping list / Serves 4-6
1.5 lbs. Atlantic cod
1.5 lbs. mussels or clams
½ lb. baby squid/calamari
½ lb. baby scallops
½ lb. shrimp – tails on
½ cup olive oil
10 peeled garlic cloves
Parsley to yield 3 tbsp. chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
Yellow onions, thinly sliced to yield 3 cups
2 large ripe on-the-vine tomatoes
20 cherry tomatoes
8-10 peeled garlic cloves
2 bottles clam juice
3 cups fish or chicken stock
1 cup white wine, like Pinot Grigio or similar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp saffron strands
Additional chopped parsley for garnish
Garlic: Crush and chop all the garlic separating the batches for the stock and the marinade.
Parsley: Separate from the stems and finely chop.
Marinade: In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic, parsley and lemon juice.
Squid: Cut tubes into ¼” thick rings and set aside into a non-reactive metal or Pyrex bowl.
Fish: Cut and discard any skin and discard bones. Cut into 1-1/2” pieces. Place in a non-reactive metal or Pyrex bowl. Place ½ the marinade in the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 1 hour.
Remaining seafood (except for mussels or clams): Place the squid, shrimp and scallops together in a non-reactive metal or Pyrex bowl. Place the remaining marinade in the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 1 hour.
Tomatoes: Chop and set aside
Onions: Peel, discard skin. Quarter and thinly slice into quarter-circles.
In a large heavy bottom stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat until hot and ripples form in the oil. Add the garlic, onions and ½ tsp. salt. Sauté for a good 10-15 minutes or so on medium heat until onions have softened but not brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for 7 minutes or so until the tomatoes have softened.
Deglaze the pan with wine and scrape so any brown bits at the bottom of the pan dislodge.
Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the clam juice and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat.
Add the mussels or clams and cook for 10 minutes with a lid on the pot allowing some steam to escape. Make sure that the shellfish is submerged in liquid or they won’t open.
Add the fish and bring to a heavy simmer. Don’t stir but carefully shake the pan instead to avoid breaking up the fish. if you need to stir use the handle of a wooden spoon to lightly nudge the fish in the broth.
Add the shrimp, calamari & scallops with the cherry tomatoes. Cook for just about 5-7 minutes until the shrimp is pink. Do not overcook to prevent toughening of calamari & scallops.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve the stew with soft polenta or crusty bread. Garnish with parsley.