We are learning about traditional local food in every country we are traveling through. In our last article we talked to Josip, Domagoj and Šimun Živković about the olive harvest in their groves. But Domagoj also told us about traditional food in his village Zečevo in Croatia.
The dish that is Domagoj’s favourite is called Brudet. Brudet is a fish stew with vegetables and very simple to make. He remembers having it as a little boy and always liking it. Zečevo is situated directly on the coast so many of the villagers used to be fishermen and went out to sea. “Zečevo is a village based on fish”, Domagoj says. Especially some time ago when the people were very poor and often hungry, fish was usually the only dish they could make.
Brudet is not difficult to make. In fact there are lots of different ways to make it, but this is how Domagoj and his family prepare the meal. The first step is to put a big bowl above a fire (a stove also works for all the people who aren’t keen on open fires in their homes). Then you put some vegetables in the bowl. Domagoj says they usually use garlic, onions and paprika but you can also add others if you like. Next you add some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the bowl. “That is the most important ingredient”, Domagoj says. The finished dish is only as good as the quality of the olive oil.
Now you add the fish. Brudet can be made with a lot of different sorts of fish as long as it is fresh and good quality. It is even recommended to use different sorts for this dish. You add the fish to the vegetables and oil and also put in some water. Then you wait for the whole thing to boil. When it does you place the bowl higher above the fire (or turn your stove down to medium heat) and leave it there for several hours. The longer you wait the better the stew will be but two to three hours is minimum. And after that you can enjoy your Brudet.