Spicy Fish Stew (Bourtheto)

This spicy fish dish  is one of the signature dishes of the Greek island of Corfu. The name comes from the Italian brodeto, for broth.  There are many Italian influences in the cooking style of the island.

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4 whole fish (preferably mullet or snapper), about 500 g each, gutted and scaled
juice of 1 lemon
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red onions
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cayenne
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves


Preheat oven to 180° C.

  • Cut onions in half and slice thin
  • Finely chop garlic and parsley

1.  Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

2,  Place in a shallow bowl, drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil, and set aside, covered and refrigerated, for one hour.

3.  Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet and sweat the onions over low heat until soft, about 12 minutes.

4.  Add the garlic, and stir once or twice.

5.  Pour in the wine and water. Bring the mixture to a boil.

6.  Reduce heat, add bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, and half the parsley. Simmer for five minutes.

7.  Pour sauce over fish. Add remaining olive oil, and bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until fish is flaky.

8. Serve hot, sprinkled with a little cayenne and remaining parsley.

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