This wonderful seafood stew is an Italian-American classic that originated in San Francisco. It takes a little time to pull together, but it’s so worth the effort.
It’s a perfect recipe for entertaining. You can prepare this dish through step 2 ahead of time, even the day before you’ll be serving it. Just before serving, bring the broth back to a boil and add the seafood.
It’s also completely customizable so you can use any seafood you like in this dish. Fennel, garlic and onion provide rich background flavor for the broth. Fennel, which has a strong, licorice-like flavor when raw, mellows when you saute it in olive oil and gives this dish a wonderful flavor but if you’re not a fan, feel free to use celery instead.
You can purchase seafood stock to use in this recipe. I like Kitchen Basics seafood stock if I don’t have time to make my own. To make a quick stock yourself, reserve the peels from the shrimp and simmer in water for about 30 minutes then strain.
Be sure to serve this dish with crusty bread because you’re going to want to soak up every bit of the flavorful broth.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb , sliced
- 1 large onion , sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 can (28 oz.) Sclafani Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- 2 cups seafood stock or clam juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 littleneck clams , scrubbed
- 1 pound mussels , scrubbed and debearded
- 1 pound large shrimp , peeled and deveined
- 1 ½ pounds firm fish fillets such as cod or halibut , cut into 2-inch pieces
In a 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion and salt and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute.
Add Tomatoes with their juice breaking up tomatoes slightly with a spoon, fish stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Add clams, mussels, shrimp and fish. Cover and simmer gently 10 to 15 minutes or until fish and shrimp are cooked through, and clams and mussels open, stirring occasionally.
Serve cioppino with crusty bread.
To make this recipe whole30 compliant, replace the wine with stock.
Photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio