Cioppino is an Italian-American seafood stew, with an assortment of fresh fish, shellfish, and mollusks in rich, flavorful broth.
I lived in San Francisco, right on the top of Russian Hill, on Union and Hyde with a couple of girls. A year later I wanted to live on my own, so I moved right around the corner to a teeny, tiny, semi-basement flat on Hyde and Union, right on the cable car line. My futon was under the sidewalk level window and the cable cars would either lull me to sleep at night, or wake me up in the morning.
When my dad would visit, he’d take me out to dinner. He didn’t take me to any of the new, chic restaurants run by up-and-coming chefs that I begged to go to. He always wanted to go to Fisherman’s Wharf to eat oysters on the half shell and Cioppino. So we’d walk from Russian Hill, past Lombard Street to the Wharf, just over a mile. On the way back we’d stop by the Buena Vista Cafe for Irish Coffee, before heading back up Hyde to my flat.
Cioppino is an Italian-American dish, created in San Francisco by fisherman using the day’s catch.
It’s similar to fish stews served throughout the Mediterranean. Begin with simple tomato based broth, add some Italian herbs and seasoning. The base can be made ahead of time, and the fish added just minutes before serving. Use any combination of firm-fleshed fish and shellfish you choose. Make the broth as mild or spicy as you wish.
But always serve your cioppino with sourdough bread or gluten free breadsticks!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
- 2 14 1/2 ounce cans chicken vegetable or fish broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 8 ounce bottle clam juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
- 1 teaspoon or more! dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- handful of fresh basil chopped
- Assorted firm fleshed fish shellfish and mollusks, such as cod, snapper, halibut or salmon, crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops, rinsed. Scrub mussels and clams. Figure about 8-10 ounces of fish/seafood per person, (including shells).
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add onion, cook 1 or 2 minutes. Add next nine ingredients, tomatoes through bay leaf, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 40-45 minutes.
Add clams and mussels, cover and cook on low for about 5 minutes or until shells begin to open. Add fish, shrimp and/or crab and cook an additional 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through and clams and mussels are opened. Discard any unopened mollusks.
Adjust seasoning, adding more more salt or red pepper if desired.
Add fresh chopped parsley and basil.
Serves 4. Can easily be doubled or tripled.