It is usually served with polenta or toasted bread which soaks up the fish broth, while other recipes serve it with potatoes or bread, I have made it serving it with all three, but my favourite is brudet with polenta.
Brudet can significantly vary in style, composition and flavor, depending upon the types of ingredients and cooking styles used. I have prepared it here with two different types of fish and eel, but you can add prawns, or mussels, or any seafood that you love, just add things like prawns and mussels, close to the end of cooking time, so they don't overcook. By changing the fish you will change the flavour, but that is the beauty of this dish.
A fish I have to include in a brodet is the skorpion fish or red rock cod. When cooked it's meat is delicious. Many consider it the poor man's lobster. Use fish that won't dry out in cooking, cod's are great here as is grouper and perch. Using fresh fish is the most important part of the dish.
I have also made it using whole fish, heads and all, that I cut up in serving sizes, with bones. This makes it more difficult to eat, but adding fish with bones over using fillets produces a better tasting sauce. If you really can't imagine using fish heads, don't, but adding cutlets of fish over fillets is needed to produce a rich tasting sauce.
From the original recipe I reduced the oil amount by 1/4 cup each. You can add it, it does taste great, but I prefer to drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the finished dish instead.
I use any leftover broth to make a brudet risotto the next day, that is absolutely delicious, so please don't throw it away. Flake any leftover fish into the risotto also.
I use a 26cm wide saucepan, about 15cm high, rather than a tall skinny saucepan, it's better for even layering, but use what you have.
This is simple, traditional, Croatian seafood stew, my family enjoyed it, hope yours do to.
8 small whole fish or 4 medium fish, cut in half, fish like skorpion fish, cod, grouper, sea perch
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 medium onions, peeled, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon vegeta
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Extra chopped parsley, for sprinkling
Serve with soft polenta or sliced boiled potatoes
Remove scales from fish and remove guts, get your fishmonger to do this, that way you only clean what they miss, much less mess. Rinse under cold running water.
Take a large, wide, heavy saucepan. Add oil, once heated, add onions, saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Add the parsley, garlic and tomato paste, cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water and vegeta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well to combine. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, add the fish, in one layer, if you can, add an extra 1 cup of water. The sauce does not need to cover the fish, but it does need to cover at least half the fish, as the fish cooks, it releases moisture and collapses a little into the sauce, Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 1 hour, occasionally shaking the pan, do not stir or you will break up the fish. I start checking the brudet around the 30 minute mark, to see if the fish is cooked to my liking.
When you think you have 10 minutes left of cooking time, add in the vinegar, shake the saucepan, simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with parsley, just before serving.
Serve with soft polenta or sliced boiled potatoes.
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