Meet brudet: a delicious Croatian fish stew

Food & wine

Refreshingly simple, authentic and personal — a prime example of Mediterranean cuisine.

Brudet is a seafood stew that’s especially popular in Croatia’s regions of Dalmatia, Kvarner and Istria. What makes it so appealing is the fact that brudet is a fish stew that loves and welcomes all kind of fish. As most Mediterranean fish stews, it was created as a dish that will take advantage of all the leftover fish that wasn’t sold at the market. There are variants of this dish all over the world the French call it bouillabaisse, Italians brodetto, and the Brasilians moqueca, and each cuisine has its way of preparing this delicious fish stew.

There are as many brudet recipes as there are Croatians who eat it, as everybody has their own family method or special ingredient. But, there are two rules! The first one is to never ever put a lid on your pot while cooking brudet, and the second is to never stir the dish, as you risk your fish falling apart. Instead, just carefully shake the pot.

Brudet recipe

Here is the basic recipe, and we encourage you to add your own flavour to it.

You will need about 1,5 kg of fish for a pot of brudet. If you’re not sure which fish to choose, go with a mix of shellfish, conger, forkbeard, flathead grey mullet, red mullet and a couple of crabs.

Alongside the fish, you will need 2 large onions, 4 garlic cloves, 500 g of canned tomatoes, 0,5 l of white wine, 0,5 l of water, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Before you start cooking, it’s prep time peel and chop the onion and garlic, and clean the fish. When prepping the fish, cut it into large chunks, so it won’t fall apart into little pieces when cooking.

Start cooking by sauteing the onion and garlic on some olive oil. After the onion starts to wilt, add the canned tomatoes. Leave it sizzling for 10 min and start adding your fish. Once you’ve arranged the fish in the pot, pour in the wine and top it off with water. The water should be covering all ingredients. Salt and pepper the dish and leave it cooking for about half an hour.

Serve this beautiful Mediterranean fish stew with baked polenta.

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