Brodo di pesce, fish soup, is an Italian term for what has been made in coastal, lake and river communities for millennia.
Freshly-caught fish went into a pot with water and whatever vegetables were available to flavor it. Water plus vegetables equals vegetable broth.
Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish soup or stew (the difference), a recipe that originated in the port city of Marseille, France, and is the city’s signature dish.
Cooking anything en brodo simply means you are cooking it in a flavorful broth. It’s not just for fish: tortellini en brodo is a favorite Italian pasta dish.
Back to the fish:
As rustic fish stews/soups evolved, a variation emerged using pricier fish fillets instead of cheaper cuts. The fillets were poached in the already-prepared broth, and pesce en brodo, emerged.
(Note: brodo di pesce is fish broth, pesce en brodo is fish in a broth. If you see the term in brodo, it’s an American misspelling).
There are many recipes for fish en brodo and fish in brodo online (a search for pesce en brodo will give you recipes in Italian). Or, Search generically for “fish” or for a specific fish (cod, snapper, etc.).
Here’s an easy recipe for the fish of your choice in a tomato-accented broth.
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. COMBINE the wine, water and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients except the fish, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.
2. PLACE the fish fillets in the skillet, spooning some of the broth over them. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
3. LIFT the fish and tomatoes, using a slotted spoon, into shallow bowls. Discard the thyme and ladle the broth and shallots (and optional vegetables) into each bowl. Garnish with additional fresh thyme or other herbs, or with the optional greens garnish.
*The difference between poaching and steaming: With poaching, the fish (or other food) must be completely submerged in the liquid. It is cooked by the hot liquid. With steaming, Steamed the food sits above the liquid in a steamer basket or other device. It is cooked by the steam.