Brodetto di pesce alla Triestina – Triestin fish soup

Brodetto alla Triestina

As already mentioned, we discovered a good fishmonger in Oxford and, since we have not eaten fish for the last one year and a half, apart from salmon from the supermarket, we fancied something Italian, gorgeous and tasty: a good fish soup, or brodetto (from brodo which is Italian for stock) as it is called in Italy. It is not difficult, but, I am afraid, it is not a short recipe. There are different types of fish which need separate cooking.

Every region in Italy has its particular way to make a fish soup. Most of them derive from the tradition of making a supper on board, or at home, with the fish which is not economically valuable. Today brodetti are the most demanded specialities in restaurants and are often enriched with crab, lobster or other shellfish.

Our recipe is not so fancy and it is based on the brodetto usually made in Trieste. A few, mostly humble, fish varieties, tomatoes, garlic and a slice of bred.


Ingredients for 2-3 portions:

1 squid about 150 g
4 scampi (langoustines)
13-14 mussels
13-14 clams
300 – 400 g whiting or other white fish e.g. monkfish (coda di rospo)
extra-virgin olive oil
oil for deep frying
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons tomato passata
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 slices of bread
black pepper
2 glasses of white wine (the glass of wine is not filled to the top, leave at least one finger to the edge)

First prepare the fish. Wash, clean the squid and then cut it into round rings. Cut the head and the little legs from the scampi, descale and fillet the fish  (you can ask to fishmonger for that) and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Finely chop the onion, one garlic clove, some parsley and add them into a pan where you have warmed a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. It would be better to use a terracotta casserole if you have one, otherwise, you can use a large wok as we did. Cook slowly and when the onions are golden add half a glass of wine and let it evaporate.

Add the tomato passata and simmer for 15 minutes stirring frequently. Add the squid rings and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the scampi and a litre of boiling water and cook on slow heat for other 30 minutes with the lid on.

Meanwhile heat some vegetable oil for deep-frying. Toss the the whiting pieces in some plain white flour and then fry them in the oil two or three at a time. When the pieces are turning brown remove them form the oil and place them on some kitchen paper for a couple of minutes in order to absorb the excess of oil. When the fish has been fried add it to the pan with the squid and scampi.

In another deep pan cook the mussels and the clams. Put the shells in the pan with some finely chopped parsley, a garlic clove, black pepper and a glass of white wine. Cook on moderate heat until all the shells have opened. If there is no sand on the bottom of the pan add all the juice and the shells in the pan with the other fish. If there is some sand pick up only the shell and add them to the other fish carefully avoiding the sand. Cook for another 10 minutes on slow heat.

It is almost done! Toast the bread slices and brush a garlic cloves on one side. Season the soup with salt and black pepper and serve with the bread. Sparkle with some fresh chopped parsly and extra-virgin olive oil.

Buon appetito!


Brodetto alla Triestina

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