Brodetto fanese

 

The name of this recipe translates as ‘light broth as they do it in Fano’ – the latter being a town on the eastern coast of Italy. It doesn’t really sound like much, especially when you learn that this dish was originally prepared on fishing boats as a quick-and-dirty fix to eat something and find some use for the fish nobody would ever buy anyway. Prejudices can be deceiving, though, and the absolute delicacy of this recipe will make you wonder what the hell “good” dishes can be! To save you from unneeded troubles, we strongly suggest to ask your fishmonger to sell you pre-cleaned fish only. You are going to work enough yourself anyway.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 80 g double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 7 cl extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 unsalted bread slices
  • 6 cl white vinegar
  • 50 g diced onion
  • 50 cl water
  • 300 g spiny dogfish
  • 300 g sole
  • 250 g monkfish
  • 200 g squid
  • 200 g shrimps
  • 200 g scampi
  • 200 g mantis shrimps
  • 200 g hake
  • 200 g cuttlefish
  • 150 g tub gurnard
  • 150 g red mullet
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

 

 

Preparation

 

The key to this recipe is to add the various types of fish in the right sequence to ensure they all reach their ideal cooking point at the same time. Your first job is to finish cleaning the ingredients so that they can be tossed in as soon as you need them. Clean, eviscerate and cut the scuttlefish into slices and the squid. The hake and the tub gurnard must be eviscerated whole under running tap water, then you should cut the heads off. The cleaned red mullet is better kept whole, while the monkfish and the spiny dogfish need to be skinned and roughly diced. Skin both sides of the sole and pick the outer bones off, then prepare the shrimps, scampi and mantis shrimps by removing their legs and antennas. Make a lengthways incision on their belly, and you are ready to go. Chop the onion and lightly cook it for 15 minutes in a pot with the olive oil and the garlic. Then add the vinegar, let it evaporate, and mix the tomato paste in. It is now time to cook the fish. Start with the cuttlefish and squid and cook them for ten minutes. Now add the pre-heated water and the tub gurnard, the spiny dogfish, the monkfish and the hake. From now on, do not stir with anything but a gentle shake of the pot. Cover it for five minutes. Now it is the turn of the mantis shrimps, the scampi, the red mullet and the sole. The shrimps should be the last fish in. Let it gently cook for ten more minutes, then add the salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread, and eat as hot as possible.