A traditional Tuscan fish soup, revisited: the caldaro

Today’s blog post is about a typical Tuscan recipe that has been revisited in a modern gourmet style by Chef Emiliano Lombardelli of Porto Ercole’s Dama Dama Restaurant.

caldaro soup recipe maremma tuscany
Chef Emiliano Lombardelli’s caldaro – Dama Dama Restaurant (Porto Ercole)

The Caldaro is a traditional fish soup from the Argentario Promontory in southern Tuscany. Its name comes from a large pot (the caldaro) used to cook the soup directly on the beach or on the cliffs with whatever was fished on the spot.

Lombardelli’s recipe keeps the flavors, the colors and the spirit of the original soup while adding a touch of sophistication. The fish listed in the ingredients can be easily found in the Maremma’s local waters, so it might be hard to replicate this recipe elsewhere… but you never know! You can add your sophisticated inspiration too!


390 g broth fish                                                      8 g garlic
350 g fresh paranza prawns                               8 g parsley
350 g weeverfish                                                    0,7 g red pepper
380 g tub gurnard                                                  7 g salt
500 g gronco fish                                                    350 g stale bread
700 g fresh mussel                                                 21 g tomato concentrate
210 g stewed octopus                                           385 g tomatoes for sauce
140 g white onions                                                40 g celery
40 g carrots                                                               70 g extra virgin olive oil
140 ml Ansonica white wine (local Maremma wine)

Chef Emiliano Lombardelli’s caldaro – Dama Dama Restaurant (Porto Ercole)


Gut/clean all the fish. Wash all the aromatic elements, cut the bread in small slices and toast them.

Filter the fish and remove the bones, clean the prawns and the vein, open the mussels under heat and keep only the fruit. Pan fry a part of the aromatic herbs in oil, add the broth fish and add some white wine. Sear, and then include the tomato concentrate, water and salt; let cook for about 1 hour after the boiling point.

Whisk everything with a cutter-mixer and filter with a chinois with a very fine mesh. Pan fry the remaining aromatic herbs with garlic olive oil, add the fresh tomatoes after removing the skin and the seeds, and add the filtered broth.
Cook for about 35-40 minutes and add salt and pepper, it should be quite spicy.

Pour the boiling broth into a soup plate, and – while cooking on a high flame – the fish fillets in a pan with a bit of oil. Place the mussels on top of the toasted bread (crostini), and put these on top of the broth with all the fish. Garnish with fresh parsley.


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