Write this down. It’s the recipe for an ideal Croatian vacation – Start with five days sailing between Croatian ports on a private boat with your own captain, your own chef, and a couple of kayaks. Stir in touring Dubrovnik, Montenegro, and Bosnia. Sift in a dash of the most beautiful waterfalls imaginable and a little white water rafting. Top it off with a dose of crazy in love and a heaping serving of seafood. Taa daa! You have the ideal recipe for a truly amazing Croatian vacation.
If you are ready to start your brudet expedition, here’s the brudet recipe. Read on to find out why you should stop everything and book a trip to Croatia and cook brudet immediately on your return.
My Croatian experience
This vacation really had it all – lots of adventure, amazing food, culture, history, love, and sunshine. My co-star in this vacation, B (the crushing heartbreak), LOVED white-water rafting, so our trip began with a Bosnian rafting trip. You know from my Costa Rica entry that I despise rafting. In this case, watching the guide throw the raft over a waterfall and then jump behind it was worth it.
We spent a couple of days dreaming through Unesco World Heritage site – Plitvice Lakes. I have never witnessed anything more naturally beautiful. We spent most of our time on a private sail boat off of Dubrovnik (poor us). During a surprise wind storm, I managed to flip upside down, which required a daring Eagle Scout rescue from B and a boat captain pick-up. I have to admit – the rescue was pretty darn sexy.
I planned a lot of this trip independently. Check out Croatia on the Taste bud travels page for details on the sailboat vendor we used and links to my favorite spots.
Why Croatia Brudet / Brodet/ Bouillabaisse / Fish Stew?
Seafood was the center of every meal in Croatia so it was naturally the center of this dish. I tried to capture the fresh taste and spirit of cooking from nature.
An Austin Croatian experience
This was my first attempt at cooking for someone outside of my core circle, so I was a bit nervous. Meet K. He was an excellent Croatian brudet companion as he is actually Croatian. He also lived in Charlotte and went to school in North Carolina (albeit he bleeds the wrong blue). He gave me the best compliment possible for this dinner – my Mom would have approved! Ding, ding! I win!!!
Inspirational recipe and resources
Kristy at The Life She Made knows what she is doing when it comes to brudet.
Tweaks and cautionary tales
I made a few changes to this one based on my personal preferences.
- Replaced mussels with scallops
- Used peeled and deveined shrimp for simplicity
- Replaced scampi with lobster tail
- Roasted the cherry tomatoes just to the point of bursting
- Increased lemon and olive oil overall. (included in edited recipe)
- Added shrimp stock to the polenta (half and half).
- Used fresh tomatoes. Canned ones are gross and unhealthy
How to make Croatian brudet / fish stew healthier
This is pretty darn healthy already.
- Learning Curve: none
- Pre-work: none
- Vegetarian: no
- Healthy: Yes
- Freezes well: yes
- 1 lb. cod, cut into 3 inch chunks
- 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined - save the shells and tails
- 2 lobster tails out of shell
- ½ lb. of scallops
- 20 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1.5 lemons (juice only)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 - 7 roughly chopped Roma tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups shrimp stock (you will make it in the recipe below)
- 1 box cherry tomatoes
- Polenta (prepare as package suggests)
- Combine the minced garlic, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. (Reserve a tablespoon of garlic and some chopped parsley)
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic mixture with the seafood, ensuring all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3 - 4 hours.
- Heat two cups of water to boiling, add the shrimp peelings and tails. Return to a quick boil, then simmer for 15 mins.
- Heat oven to 400. Place tomatoes on a rimmed, slightly oiled baking sheet. Spread into a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 minutes until the tomatoes are just ready to burst.
- Next, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the finely chopped onion and the reserved garlic and heat until fragrant (1½ min approx.). Add the chopped tomatoes and the white wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.
- This is a good time to start the polenta per the package instructions.
- Add the fish cutlets to the pan along with the fish stock, salt, pepper and chilli. Bring to the boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes without stirring. Shake the pan every now and then to prevent the fish from breaking up. Add the shrimp, lobster, scallops and cherry tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes on the high rapid boil, continuing to shake the pan when necessary.
- To serve - sprinkle with the reserved chopped parsley and pour over polenta