Seafood Stew Romagna (Brodetto)
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 3-inch strips lemon zest
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 2/3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes (see note), or 2 2/3 cups
canned tomatoes with their juice
4 cups dry white wine
3 1/2 pounds combined filleted fresh fish, cut into bite-size pieces (such as
bluefish, flounder, sea trout, rockfish, cod or shark) and shellfish (such as
squid, cuttlefish, small clams and shrimp)
In a heavy 6- to 8-quart pot, bring the vinegar to a lively bubble over high
heat. Add the onions, turn the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Cook 15
minutes, or until the onions are soft and almost translucent. Stir occasionally.
If the liquid threatens to evaporate totally, add about 1/4 cup water.
Once the onions are soft and rosy-colored, uncover the pot and let the vinegar
bubble gently, stirring frequently, until it evaporates. Add the oil, a little
salt and a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. Slowly saute over
medium-low heat, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until the onions turn golden. Stir
With the heat still at medium-low, stir in the lemon zest and garlic, and cook
about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and boil, uncovered, 5
minutes, or until thick. Pour in the wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil
over high heat 5 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by about one-third and
no raw alcohol taste is left from the wine. The flavors should be slightly sweet
from the tomato and onion, with a tart backdrop. Taste for seasoning.
Have soup dishes warming in a low oven. Use a tureen if available. If necessary,
bring the Brodetto to a gentle bubble over medium to medium-high heat. If you
are using squid or cuttlefish, cook it at a very gentle bubble about 20 minutes,
or until tender, before adding the remaining seafood.
Layer the firm-fleshed fish in the pot, topping it with the thinner, flakier
fillets. Scatter the shrimp and clams on top of the fish. Using the back of a
wooden spatula, gently press the fish into the sauce. Bring the liquid to a slow
bubble. Cover, and cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickest pieces are firm and
opaque to their centers. Discard shellfish that do not open. Ladle the Brodetto
into the heated soup plates or tureen, and serve.
Note: To peel tomatoes, plunge into boiling water for 30
seconds to 1 minute. Remove immediately and plunge into cold water. Skin should
slip off easily.
Makes 8 servings.
-- From "The Splendid Table," by Lynne Rossetto Kasper