Brudet is a simple Croatian fish stew, very popular in Dalmatia as well as in other coastal regions like Istra and Croatian islands. It was “invented” by fishermen who would cook it on a beach in a large pot over an open fire using fresh fish that they just caught. Another advantage of brudet is that, if lot of vinegar is added, brudet can be kept without refrigerator for a few days, which was a great thing in time when there was no electricity. Nowadays brudet is kept refrigerated, so it is not necessary to use so much vinegar – adjust it to your taste.
When you cook brudet, the best thing is not to use just one kind of fish, but to mix several different kinds – it tastes much better that way. Brudet will taste better few hours after cooking and especially the next day. It is traditionally served with cooked polenta.
- 1 kg (2 lb) mixed fish and seafood (clams, shrimps, lobsters, squid, calamari etc)
- 2-3 onions, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2-3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ – 1 cup wine vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- rosemary (optional)
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ cup Prosek (sweet dessert wine)
- 2 lemon slices
- Clean and wash the fish and seafood. Small fish can remain whole, while large fish should be cut into large cutlets
- Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and garlic. Place fish on top of broth.
- Add vinegar, salt, pepper, bay leaf, rosemary and parsley.
- Add so much wine that fish is covered (for milder taste you can use ½ wine and ½ water).
- Simmer gently over low heat for 1-2 hours. Do NOT cover nor stir; just shake skillet occasionally.
- Add Prosek and lemon slices. Season to your liking.
- Serve with polenta. Brudet is even better eaten the next day.
Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart. —