Jul 20, 2017

Cioppino

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
This tomato based seafood stew from San Francisco pairs well with a loaf of warm sourdough bread.

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Cioppino is a seafood stew that originated in San Francisco, specifically from the immigrant workers at the docks known as Fisherman’s Wharf and contains a variety of seafood cooked in a tomato and white wine based broth. Cioppino combines Italian and American flavors for a fragrant and filling stew with briny seafood flavor. While there are tons of combinations of seafood that can be added to the stew, for this cioppino recipe I chose to go with scallops, shrimp, halibut, swordfish, mussels, clams and snow crab claws.

Cioppino

What is Cioppino?

Cioppino is a seafood stew that originated in San Francisco, specifically from the immigrant workers at the docks known as Fisherman’s Wharf and contains a variety of seafood cooked in a tomato and white wine based broth.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Seafood stock – Fish stock, also called seafood stock is made from simmering the shells of lobster, shrimp, crab shells or other fish bones with white wine and other aromatics. I often buy seafood stock though you can easily make your own.Be sure to use both high quality seafood as well as seafood stock in the recipe.
  • Scallops – When cooking with scallops look for “dry packed” as they won’t contain any preservatives or additives.
  • Mussels – Mussels have a long shaggy beard, which must be removed before cooking. Do this by pulling the beard away from the shell. Removing the beard kills the mussel, so perform this right before cooking the mussels. When steaming the mussels, toss any mussels that do not open when steamed. This means they have most likely gone bad and are not suitable to be eaten.
  • Clams – I use smaller, more tender littleneck or steamer clams rather than tougher big clams in this recipe. 
  • Fish – I use a combination of two different fish in this recipe halibut and swordfish. Pacific halibut is a versatile, flakey, mild-flavored white fish that is also a sustainable choice. Most of the Pacific halibut comes from Alaska and is in season from March through November. Swordfish has a mildly sweet flavor with a meatier texture.
cioppino

How to Make Cioppino

  1. Sauté the vegetables. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat through. First, add the butter and allow to melt then add the onion, celery, carrot, leek and fennel to the pot and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Next, add the garlic and continue to sauté an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the liquid. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine then add the wine and deglaze the pan. Then, add the tomatoes, seafood stock, oregano and bay leaves then lower the heat and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Season the broth with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt butter. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat through. Add a tablespoon of butter and allow to melt.
  4. Cook the shrimp. Season the shrimp and scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until no longer pink and translucent, about a minute on each side. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Cook the scallops. Add the remaining oil and butter to the pan, then add the scallops and cook until lightly browned on each side and just barely cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Deglaze the pan and add to the broth. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a plate, covered. Return the pan to the heat and add ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan, then add the deglazed bits to the cooking pot of broth (this will add additional flavor).
  7. Cook the fish. Add the halibut and swordfish to the broth and cook until the fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the shellfish. Next, add the clams and mussels to the broth then cover and cook until both open, about an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shrimp, scallops and snow crab claws to the broth and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  9. Assemble and serve. Discard the bay leaves then ladle the cioppino into soup bowls and garnish with fennel fronds.
classic San Francisco stew recipe, cioppino, is filled with scallops, shrimp, halibut, swordfish, mussels, clams and snow crab claws.

What Should I Eat with Cioppino?

Since the recipe originated in the bay area I chose to serve mine with sourdough – the bread that automatically comes to mind when I think of San Francisco. If you’re unfamiliar with the area – it’s famous for Boudin, a bakery known for it’s sourdough bread. While the main store is on the touristy side it’s still a must stop for me.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • I add the seafood at various times to keep the fish and shellfish from becoming tough and chewy – nothing ruins the stew faster than tough fish. Serve with extra bowls for discarding shells.
cioppino with sourdough bread and white wine

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this cioppino recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Cioppino

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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup chopped leek whites only
  • ¼ cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ½ pound scallops, side-muscle removed
  • ¾ pound jumbo 21/25 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ pound halibut, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound swordfish, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • ½ pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 4 snow crab claws, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon fennel fronds
  • Sourdough bread, warmed and sliced for serving

Instructions:

  • Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt then add the onion, celery, carrot, leek and fennel to the pot and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to combine then add the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes, seafood stock, oregano and bay leaves then lower the heat and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Season the broth with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat through. Add a tablespoon of butter and allow to melt.
  • Season the shrimp and scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until no longer pink and translucent, about a minute on each side. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add the remaining oil and butter to the pan, then add the scallops and cook until lightly browned on each side and just barely cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a plate, covered. Return the pan to the heat and add ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan, then add the deglazed bits to the cooking pot of broth (this will add additional flavor).
  • Add the halibut and swordfish to the broth and cook until the fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes. Add the clams and mussels to the broth then cover and cook until both open, about an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shrimp, scallops and snow crab claws to the broth and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Discard the bay leaves then ladle the stew into soup bowls and garnish with fennel fronds.

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