Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cioppino

This scrumptious seafood stew, originally created by Italian American fishermen in San Francisco in the 19th century utilizing the fresh catch of the day (e.g., crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, fish, squid, scallops), is cooked in a delicious broth of olive oil, onion, shallots, garlic, tomatoes and wine. I perused a bunch of recipes before coming up with this version, which I've tried to keep as simple and basic as possible. Regardless of which Cioppino recipe you make, the key is to use the absolutest most freshest seafood you can get your crabby claws on. Don't even bother using anything frozen or a day or two before the suggested sale/expiration date, cuz the end result will, how shall I delicately put it...suck!



Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tsp. salt
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno or Fresno chili, seeded and chopped (or 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups bottled clam juice and/or 3 cups clam juice and 2 cups water
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. imitation lobster or crab (optional)

1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 lb. firm white fish (e.g., monkfish, halibut, cod, or even tilapia), cut into 2" pieces
2 lbs. clams (Manilas or Littlenecks), scrubbed clean before using
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil

Crusty bread sliced, fresh or toasted with basil olive oil or butter and garlic

*Feel free to use whatever combination of  fish or shellfish you like for this recipe, so long as they are fresh (e.g., crab legs , scallops)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, shallots, and 2 tsp. salt. Cook about 10 minutes or until the onions and shallots are translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeño. Cook 2 minutes.

2. Add the tomato paste and stir about 30 seconds. Add the canned diced tomatoes and their juices, white wine, clam juice and water, bay leaves, thyme, black pepper, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  

3. Turn up heat, add the clams and mussels, cover, and cook until they start to open, about 5 minutes.


4. Stir in the remaining seafood and cook 5 minutes until they are just cooked through. Stir in the fresh parsley and basil. Taste the broth and re-season with additional salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if needed. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with crusty bread on the side. 



Fresno chiles, chopped onion, chopped shallots, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. 


Sugar, diced tomatoes, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, tomato paste. You can use all clam juice for this recipe or a mix of clam juice and water (I used 3 cups of clam juice and 2 cups water for this preparation).

Saute the onions, shallot and salt until the onions are translucent, then add the garlic and chiles.


Add the tomato paste and stir well to combine. 


Add the diced tomatoes, clam juice and/or water and wine. 

Add the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, pepper and sugar. 


Imitation lobster or crab is an optional ingredient.


I like to add 1 package of imitation lobster or crab to the stock as it adds a lot of flavor. 
The texture is actually more like scallops than lobster.
Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

Turn up the heat and add the clams. Cover and cook until the clams open. 


Add the remaining seafood and cook about 5 minutes until they are just done. 


Stir in the fresh parsley and basil and adjust seasonings as needed. 



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