Cioppino is a spiced wine and tomato based soup with whatever fresh seafood you have handy thrown in. It usually includes all kinds of shellfish; my version does not--crab, shrimp and lobster all make me violently ill. Below is what I threw in, but anyone else making this should include whatever floats their boat.

These are the three recipes I referred to the most while creating my own: one, two, three

Makes way more than enough to feed two, probably 6 servings if you add a bit more seafood.

The broth base:
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced (2 cups)
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb quartered and thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper seeded & chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded & diced
  • 1-2 carrots thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs (Italian parsley, basil & oregano)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp anise
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. in a large heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot (say a dutch oven) heat oil and butter until it sizzles
  2. add onion & fennel and cook until translucent
  3. add everything else above and saute until very fragrant
saute vegetables

The liquids:
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1+ cup chicken broth (or seafood broth)
  • 1+ cup dry white wine
  • 8oz clam juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  1. add some white wine & chicken broth and give a good stir
  2. add a few dashes Tabasco & Worcestershire sauces
  3. add clam juice and stir around
  4. add diced tomatoes & tomato paste and stir well
  5. taste and add additional liquid as desired (you'll want enough liquid to cover all the seafood you'll be adding)
  6. let simmer, covered, as long as you want, several hours is fine
simmering cioppino

The seafood:
  • 10 clams
  • 6 mussels
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 2 oysters
  • 3/4 lb halibut fillet (any white fish will do)
  1. thoroughly scrub everything in a shell
oyster washing
  1. in a large pot put 1 cup white wine/chicken broth or combo of over medium heat
  2. when wine begins to steam add mussels and clams and place lid over pot
  3. steam until shells just open, 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat
  4. strain steaming liquid and add it to the broth
  5. cut halibut into bite-size pieces
  6. shuck oysters, adding their liquid to broth
  1. about 5 minutes before you want to eat add all the seafood to the broth, making sure it's mostly submerged
  2. let cook, barely simmering for no more than 5 minutes
  3. remove from heat and serve immediately
Make sure to serve cioppino with with lots of crusty french bread and garnished with chopped fresh parsley & ground black pepper. Have a good red wine on hand, don't wear white, grab plenty of napkins, have an extra bowl to toss the shells in and enjoy!


On a side note this recipe taught me I'm not nearly as adventurous about texture as I am flavor--fun as they were to play with, eating the oysters kinda creeped me out; I think I'll stick to eating my oysters grilled

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