The “Brodetto di Fano”
Fano is a very beautiful touristic town on the Adriatic coast of Italy in the Marche region. Last summer I was visiting with my sister Patrizia and during my stay an event took place: The “Sagra del Brodetto”. A ‘sagra’ is a street festival dedicated to a single theme, generally local food, and this ‘sagra’ in Fano was just extraordinary for the quality and the subject matter. In fact a “Brodetto” (literally translated in ‘little broth’) is a local fish stew, prepared in a unique way and utilizing the local super-fresh ‘catch of the day’ from the Fano harbour.
With the help of my sister we prepared the traditional “Brodetto di Fano” and I am going to share the recipe here.
It is almost impossible to find the same fish we used in this recipe, unless you are on the Adriatic coast. But you can prepare a similar dish with whatever seafood is available in your area, the only important conditions are freshness and quality. Will it taste the same? Of course not, but no two “brodetto’s” taste the same, not even in Fano, as every cook will prepare it differently, with whatever fish they like or whatever they found at the market that day.
In total about 5 lb of fish (about 2.5 kilograms):
squid (seppie), monkfish (coda di rospo or rana pescatrice), mullet (triglie), skate wings skinned (razza), shrimps (gamberi), mantis shrimp (canocchie or pannocchie), mussels (cozze), clams (vongole)
4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Wash and clean accurately all the fish
In a large skillet on medium heat, place the olive oil. Add the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add tomato puree and tomato concentrate. Add vinegar. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Add the fish at intervals, starting from those who take longer to cook. Squid first....
... then larger fishes ...
... followed by smaller fishes, skate, mullet ...
... shrimps and mantis shrimps.
Finally add the mussels and clams. Add a little bit of water if the sauce is too think. The stew is ready when the fish is thoroughly cooked and the mussels and clams are open. We served it hot accompanied by a bottle of Verdicchio wine.