February 18th, 2012 § 0 comments

Brodetto means “little soup” in Italian. Strange. That’s because there’s nothing small about this Italian fish soup in flavor or the number of sea ingredients that usually go into the dish. It is HG and BSK’s favorite fish soup. Among those who share their brodetto obsession is famed food wrier Mimi Sheraton. She recently did an article for the New Yorker about her search in Italy for the perfect brodetto. A brodetto can be simple or complex. It can contain a multitude of fresh fish, mussels, clams, squid, shrimp, etc. — or a single fish. BSK believes the best brodetto she ever had was at Little Italy’s Luna Restaurant (long gone) many decades ago. It was Brodetto di Merluzzo — brodetto with filets of delicate whiting. BSK recalls the fish broth was intense with sea flavor heightened by garlic, onions and vinegar. No tomatoes (unusual in a Neapolitan restaurant). There are many brodetto recipes online. Experiment. You will be rewarded with a wonderful soup.

A final note on Luna: It was one of “Crazy Joe” Gallo’s Manhattan hangouts. No liquor license. But, you tipped your waiter and he brought you a bottle of rough and ready chianti in a paper bag. You drank it out of a water glass.Other than the brodetto, the gangsters and the paper-bag Chianti the best thing about the Luna was its mural of the Bay of Naples. This type of primitive — yet bravura — mural was standard in many New York Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Must have given employment to many immigrant artists. But, what made the Luna mural memorable was the fact that the artist had pierced the canvas and backed it with lights giving the effect of twinkling stars over the Bay. Waiters proudly pointed out the effect if a hungry customer hadn’t noticed it.

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