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Bourdeto: A Spicy Fish Recipe from Corfu

Last updated on October 6th, 2023 at 09:23 am

Bourdeto with Scorpionfish

Bourdeto is another Corfiot fish dish that also comes from Venice.

It is made with fish from the deep, mainly scorpions with two or three perches together for better taste, but also with rhubarb or octopus.


We are lovers of Bourdeto with skate-fish or octopus but here we will present you the authentic recipe made with scorpions which is delicious.

The recipe is for 4 people and it’s the one made by Nikos Belos in its Klimataria restaurant in Benitses Corfu. This is how our ancestors used to make it in Benitses.

Simplicity, freshness, and tradition are the secret of Nikos.


  1. 10 to 12 scorpions cleaned of scales and offal only, leave them with their heads.
  2. 2-3 small perches for a stronger taste, both cleaned and with their heads.
  3. 1 big Onion chopped into small pieces with a knife
  4. A large soup spoon of sweet red pepper
  5. A pinch of hot red pepper
  6. 100 gr of Olive oil
  7. 100 grams of fresh lemon juice, from fresh-cut lemons!

In some villages in Corfu, they also use tomato sauce in Bourdeto, but in the old traditional fishing village of Benitses the original recipe is made without any tomato and the red color is due to red pepper only.

If you like tomato sauce, use it, but this is not going to be Bourdeto.

How to do it

  1. Put the finely chopped onion in the saucepan with some oil and let it boil.
  2. Add the large spoonful of red sweet pepper, a pungent hot red pepper, and the rest of the olive oil.
  3. Continue cooking it.
  4. Put a large glass of water
  5. When it boils and is near to stick, we add the fish and two more glasses of water until the fish is completely covered.
  6. Allow boiling on a normal fire until it is almost dry from the water.
  7. Put the lemon juice inside.
  8. Wait for another minute and remove it from the fire cause it’s ready.

Note: Scorpion fishes have small bones like nails, therefore are dangerous and you need to be very careful as you eat them.
As you noticed, the real traditional recipe is made with the fish intact with all their bones because it is more tasteful.

In case you are worried about the dangerous bones you can clean the fish from their bones prior to cook, but the sauce won’t be such delicious, it all depends on you.

Also, using another kind of fish can solve the small bone problem, a highly recommended fish is dogfish or chestnut.

This same recipe applies to codfish and octopus, in these cases, you can add potatoes too.

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