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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Croatian Seafood Recipe...Brudet (Croatian Seafood Stew)

I've been getting lots of views at some of my Croatian food posts over the last while. Well I thought, then it's time to maybe do another Croatian food post. Something different though. I've covered just a few of the basic and well known ones, but then I realized I've done mostly continental Croatia dishes. Time to do a seafood post.

Hmmm? Then I came across the below blog and immediately thought it was perfect. (and it was already written out for me)

Brudet has it all, well almost all. Below is one traditional and popular version. If you like you can also throw in some lignje (squid) or battered squid (pohane lignje) as a side dish. Heck, I don't care, you can throw in crab or a lobster tail too if you want. It's all about the blending of the spices, herbs and flavors of the different seafood to make a great tasting final cooked dish. Maybe even throw in some rice if you want to thicken up the tasty broth. The coastal regions of Croatia are known for many types of seafood dishes...for obvious reasons. Back in the day centuries ago, neighbors or families would probably all get together and cook a huge pot of brudet in one of those big kettles over an open fire, like in medieval times. It's surprisingly easy to make and simple. (pssst, chilli flakes/tabasco)

The recipe below has chilli flakes as an option, I would definitely throw them in and then some tabasco sauce or hot sauce just to be safe. Maybe a bunch of big mushrooms near the end of the cooking. I like the mushrooms. Another good side to have with it would be palenta (žganci, pura) which is made from corn meal and is also very easy to make. Brudet is one of those seafood dishes you can have fun while eating, you are actually allowed to get your fingers saucy and messy while eating, which is expected and part of the culinary tradition of eating brudet. Brudet can also get interesting when you start throwing in pasta options in various ways.

A few personal inside tips...Definitely add the chilli flakes/tabasco sauce, never, ever, ever forget to add the garlic and wine into the brudet, and multiply all the below ingredients by 4 or 5 just to make sure you make enough. Some previous Croatian food posts at the bottom with more recipes and links......


My family comes from a part of Croatia called Dalmatia. It’s the costal part of the country so seafood is a massive part of people’s diet in this part of Croatia.

Growing up I always ate fish. And I’m not talking about fish fingers or battered and fried. The most typical way to cook and eat fish in Dalmatia is to cook it whole and on the bone. Whether it’s in a soup, a stew or grilled over coals and slathered with olive oil, garlic and parsley, it’s always whole, never filleted. In fact a lot of people adore sucking the eyeballs out of fish. I’ve done it, though I don’t particularly like it. It’s intensely fishy and mucousy as you can imagine!

Ok, if you’re still reading and I haven’t put you off…

This dish called “Brudet” is Croatia’s version of Brodetto or Bouillabaisse. It’s basically a mixture of any seafood, cooked in tomato wine and garlic. Lots of garlic. 20 cloves to be exact! Don’t be alarmed, for some reason, it’s not that garlicy when you eat it. It’s a real luxury and not something that you would necessarily cook every day, but it’s very impressive as a dinner party dish. It looks so lavish in the centre of the dinner table and everyone just serves themselves. I think it goes really well with soft polenta, which is what I served it alongside last Friday when I cooked this.

Choose any seafood you like. I chose rock cod which I had my fishmonger cut into cutlets (bone and skin incuded) as it’s a very firm fleshed fish that can stand to be cooked for a long time without falling apart. I also had prawns, scampi and mussels that I prepared before hand by removing the legs for easy peeling, but keeping the shells and heads on for flavour, and debearding the mussels. You could totally use pippys, clams, balmain bugs, lobster tails, blue eye travella, eel, coral trout – whatever you like.


500g-1kg rock cod, cut into cutlets
500g fresh kozice (prawns), head and shell intact
500g škampi, shell intact
500g mussels, debearded
20 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
juice 1 lemon
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 can chopped Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional, and certainly not traditional, I just love my chilli)
100ml white wine
500ml fish stock or water
1 punnet cherry tomatoes


Combine the chopped garlic, chopped parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. The easiest way is to wizz it all up in a food processor, but chopping stirring together by hand is ok too. (Reserve a tablespoon of garlic and a little chopped parsley for the sauce later)

In a large bowl, mix with the prepared seafood, tossing together so that every piece is covered with the marinade. Cover with clingwrap and put in the fridge for up to 4 hours for the flavours to mingle and penetrate the seafood.

When you’re ready to put it together, add a little olive oil to a hot, wide and large pan or pot. You could even use a wok if you didn’t have a very big frying pan like I do. Add the finely chopped onion and the reserved garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant and translucent. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and the 100ml white wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.

Add the fish cutlets to the pan along with the fish stock, salt, pepper and chilli (if using) and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes without stirring but shaking the pan every now and then to prevent the fish from breaking up and to help emulsify the sauce. Then add the prawns, scampi, mussels and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5-7 minutes on the high rapid boil, continuing to shake the pan when necessary. Magically the oil and garlic in the marinade emulsify with the liquid and thicken the sauce.

To server simply sprinkle with the reserved chopped parsley on top of some oozy soft polenta (directions are on the packet).

Do you eat a lot of seafood? Why or why not? Also, what do you think about my Croatian recipes, would you like to see more?

A local variation from the island of Hvar which shows you what to expect in the kitchen.

You can also use any kind of fish you prefer to make a fish only version of Brudet. More info:

I found a version of making a simple 'hobitnica brudet. (octopus brudet) I've tried this and it's really good after all the flavors cook together. I'd also recommend the already mentioned 'pura/palenta' to have with it.

I might as well throw in a couple David videos, he has lots of episodes on his Youtube channel from his travels in Croatia. If you ever spend time along the Croatian coast sometime, you will notice there are lots of fish markets with the seafood on your plate coming directly out of the Adriatic just hours previously, so many kinds of seafood and recipe combinations I don't even know what they all are . You'll also realize that you don't have to eat at fancier more expensive restaurants to enjoy the quality offerings. I'll let David explain...

This one is from the opposite end of the Croatian coast in the town of Dubrovnik at the Ragusa 2 restaurant, one of the more fancier type places. This place is also well known for it's various seafood dishes as you will see.

Lastly, in the northern coastal Istra region town of Umag one can find the restaurant Konoba Nono. It just opened up about 6 years ago but has already become especially well known and popular for their daily freshly caught seafood dishes. (as well as their petting zoo for the kids)

Related previous posts: croatian-stuffed-peppers-punjene-paprike









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