Known in Italy as brodetto di pesce, this flavoursome dish is more like a stew than a soup. The liquid that forms comes from the juices of the seafood, wine and tomatoes, rather than stock. This is one of the first dishes I learnt to cook at Caffé e Cucina. It’s wonderfully versatile: most European countries have a version, and every cook who makes it more than once adjusts the recipe to their own taste.
200 g (7 oz) clams
200 g (7 oz) mussels
4 prawns or scampi
2 small crabs, killed but not cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped
and leaves roughly chopped
3 anchovy fillets
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
200 g (7 oz) firm-fleshed white-fish fillets,
cut into 2 cm (¾ in) cubes
½ glass chardonnay or other white wine
1 squid tube, cut into 5 mm (¼ in) rings
- Rinse the clams and mussels under cold water. Remove the beard from the mussels – a sharp tug usually does it. If necessary, scrape off any barnacles by using the sharp end of one mussel against the shell of another. Prepare the prawns by removing the heads, if you wish, then slicing their bodies in half – cut from head to tail along the back; fi nally, remove the vein. To split the crabs, remove the top shells (just peel off with your hands), remove the grey feathery gills, then, with your hands, break the body in half down the middle.
- Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds, using your fingers or a teaspoon. Discard the seeds and keep the flesh.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients, then gently sauté the garlic, parsley stalks (put the parsley leaves to one side), anchovies, chilli and tomatoes for about 2 minutes.
- Add the crabs. Cover the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes before adding the fish, clams, mussels and prawns. Cover again, and cook for a minute or so.
- Add the wine, cover, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the squid and remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow it to sit with its lid on for about 5 minutes (the residual heat will cook the squid).
- Sprinkle the broth with the parsley leaves. If your cooking pot is presentable, take it straight to the table. Otherwise, put the broth in a large serving bowl (warm it up a little first). Serve with plenty of warm crusty bread.
Variations for wellbeing
Dairy intolerance, gluten intolerance, IBS, lactose intolerance – enjoy as is