The Porto Recanati’s Brodetto, history and recipe.
The Porto Recanati’s Brodetto is born together with the fishermen, who used to prepare it using the fishes that couldn’t be sell at the market – because too small, in scarce quantity or their low quality. Nothing could be thrown away in those times and the fishermen followed this popular dictate too. For centuries this dish has been fishermen’s main food, then, over time, the recipe has been refined till it reached national fame.
The recipe of Porto Recanati’s Brodetto was born in the early 1900, invented by the chef Giovanni Velluti. The success of this dish was so huge that it even started a competition in the local gastronomy. From the restaurant “Da Bianchi”, which prepared it by adding saffron, born the restaurants “Bianchi Vincenzo”, known as “the brodetto man”, and “Bianchi Nicola”, “the brodetto magician”.
A tradition that goes on nowadays with an evolution of the original recipe. The only staple is the presence of the zafferanella, the wild saffron (carthamus tinctorius) that grows on the Conero coast. Another important element is the super fresh white pulp fish, accompanied by a sprinkle of wine during the browning of the cuttlefishes, as the Velluti’s recipe says.
Here’s the ancient recipe to prepare this delicious soup according to the tradition:
- Two and a half pounds of fish for about 8/10 people
- 2 chopped small onions
- A glass of extra virgin olive oil
- Fish broth
- Slices of toasted bread
You should prefer seasonal fishes and the ones available on the markets in the very moment to be sure of their freshness. You can use cuttlefishes (sepia officinalis), smooth-hounds (mustelus mustelus), rays (raja milaretus), small-spotted catsharks (scylionhinus canicular), scorpionfishes (scorpaena scrofa), weevers (trachinidae), sea slugs (cassidaria echinophora adriatica),soles (solea solea), cods or hakes (merluccius merluccius), squids (loligo vulgaris), monkfishes (lophius piscatorius), red mullets (mullus barbatus), stripped prawns (penaeuskeraturus), prawns (naphros novergicus), stargazers (uranoscopus scaber), squilla mantis shrimps (squilla mantis), flathead grey mullet (mugil cephalus), peter’s fishes (zeus faber), crabs (carcinus maenas), gurnards (trigla lyra), cepolas (cepola macrophthalma), etc..
The two chopped onions are browned in extra virgin olive oil, then chopped cuttlefishes are added and cooked for about 10 minutes. Then add squilla mantis shrimps, prawns, squids (cut into pieces) and the sea slugs (already boiled for about 20 minutes). At this point, pour the fish broth into which the wild saffron has been melted, after having made it come out with warm water and then filtered and put it back into the oven until it boils. Over a low flame, add gurnards, stargazers, monkfishes, smooth-hounds, rays and, last but not least, soles and red mullets. Pour more fish broth and saffron, adding salt and pepper. When cooked, let the brodetto rests for ten minutes before serving. And then to drink a good glass of Verdicchio! Enjoy your meal!