Recipe, Brodetto di pesce

This is one of my favourite recipes and a dish that I have eaten around the world in different guises.  The version with razor clams at Loccatelli in London still stands out in my memory.  It is a dish that is built on the freshness of the seafood.  Any fish or shellfish will do, just alter the cooking times for fish like tuna that will dry out with over cooking.  Finish with a slug of the best olive oil you can find, a sprinkle of parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

For the stock.

1 whole snapper (filleted). Place the snapper bones in a pot and cover with enough water so it just floats.  Add a pinch of saffron.  Bring to a simmer turn off as the pot boils.    Add two sticks of celery and the outside layer of a bulb of fennel with fronds roughly chopped.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes and then carefully strain.  If you want a less fishy dish then use a light chicken stock as half the amount of broth.

3 sticks of celery finely chopped (5mm dice)2 eschalot finely chopped

1 clove garlic finely sliced

½ head of fennel finely chopped.

4 tbsp of homemade tomato sauce or passata

100 ml good dry white wine (I use vermentino or pinot grigio)

Good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

½  bunch offlat leaf parsley chopped.

To make the broth

Gently sweat the celery, eschalot and fennel in some extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt. As the vegetables soften add the garlic and a grind of black pepper. Turn the heat up and add the white wine with a pinch of saffron threads.  Reduce the wine by 2/3 and add the stock. The vegetables should just float.  Bring to the boil and turn off allow to stand for an hour.  Adjust the seasoning.


To finish.

4 large king prawns peeled and chopped

2 hawkesbury calamari cut into rings

80g cooked fregola

2 snapper fillets cut in two.

Good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

½  bunch offlat leaf parsley chopped. (reserved from before)

1 seeded and chopped roma tomato

1 lemon


Heat the broth in a large open pan, add the fregola and chopped tomato.

Simmer and adjust seasoning.

Add prawns, then fish and finally calamari. Allow to gently heat and slowly cook the seafood.  Don’t boil. 

The seafood should take around 7 minutes to cook.  Season with lemon juice and chopped parsley, black pepper and a little olive oil just before serving.

*Fregola is a type of cous cous. I cook it by boiling in salted water (10 times the amount of fregola) for 7 minutes I then drain and rinse under cold water