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Cioppino

To warm up with a bowl of home-cooked seafood stew, repeat after me – Cioppino! Cioppino! Full of flavor, this tomato based soup with clams, mussels, crab, shrimp, squid, fish, and scallops is a real treat for Sunday dinner. Enjoy with some crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • For Cioppino
    ▢Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    ▢1 Tbsp unsalted butter
    ▢1 clove garlic (chopped)
    ▢¼ cup white wine (4 Tbsp)
    ▢½ lb little neck clams
    ▢¼ lb mussels
    ▢8 cups Cioppino Sauce (2 QT; recipe follows)
    ▢¼ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
    ▢1 ½ lb dungeness crab (cooked, cleaned and cracked, to save time I bought ¼ lb (113 g) cooked crab meat instead)
    ▢¼ lb shrimp (shell-on if possible for more flavor)
    ▢¼ lb squid tubes (cut in rings)
    ▢½ lb firm-fleshed white fish fillets (I used Pacific Cod, cut in 2-inch (5 cm) cubes)
    ▢2 oz bay scallops
  • For Cioppino Sauce
    ▢2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    ▢½-1 onion (halved and thinly sliced)
    ▢1 fennel bulb (halved, core removed, and thinly sliced)
    ▢4 cloves garlic (chopped)
    ▢2 bay leaves
    ▢4 Tbsp chopped parsley
    ▢2 Tbsp chopped sweet basil
    ▢2 sprigs fresh thyme
    ▢1 can tomatoes (14.5 oz, 411 g; peeled, crushed by hand)
    ▢1 can tomato sauce (15 oz, 425 g)
    ▢2 cups clam juice (2 8-oz (237 ml) bottles)
    ▢⅛ tsp Worcestershire sauce
    ▢½ Tbsp brown sugar
    ▢freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    ▢crushed red peppers (red pepper flakes) (to taste)
    ▢kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Gather all the ingredients. If you use clams and mussels, make sure to check if the shells are cracked or opened. Those that are just slightly open may still be fresh. To check, squeeze the shell shut. If they don’t stay closed, discard them. To learn how to de-grit clams, click here. I used a 1.5-pound seafood medley from Costco, which contains mussels, clams, shrimp, and bay scallops.

Cioppino Sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel bulbs and sauté until translucent.
  • Add the garlic, bay leaves, parsley, basil and thyme, and cook, stirring, just to warm the garlic. Do not let it brown.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, black and red peppers, and salt to taste.
  • Bring to boil and skim off fat, scum, and foam. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered for about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Cioppino:

  • Put the olive oil, butter, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, but not brown.
  • Add the wine and the clams, and cover. Turn the heat up to medium-high and steam until the clams start to open, about 3-5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and steam until the just start to open, about 2 minutes.
  • Now stir in some cioppino sauce, the Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the cracked crabs, if using, and the shrimp, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the fish, squid, scallops, and cooked crab meat.
  • Gently stir in the rest of cioppino sauce and simmer until they are all just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
  • Serve in large bowls, shells included. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve with crusty French baguette. Enjoy!

To Store

  • You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.

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