Cioppino: Italian Fish Stew

Cioppino

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh fennel, large-diced (from the bulb only, fronds and stem removed)
1 onion, medium-diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bell pepper (orange, yellow or red), large-diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 16-ounce can of tomato puree
8 ounces clam juice or fish stock
24 ounces water or vegetable stock (may also use all water or veg. stock if clam juice or fish stock not available)
4 slices fresh lemon, ¼-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 loaf of good, crusty bread (artisan baguette or ciabatta)

Seafood:
8 ounces fresh, mild white fish, cut into 4 even pieces (cod, tilapia, sea bass, halibut – salmon and swordfish also work)
12 each little neck clams
12 each shrimp
8 each sea scallops
12 each mussels

Directions:
In a large stock pot, sauté the fennel, onions, celery and bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat, for about three minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat.

Next, add the white wine, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and dried oregano, stirring after adding each ingredient. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato puree, water and stock and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon slices. Continue by adding the seafood, or refrigerate broth for up to 3 days before adding seafood and serving.

Add the cod fillets, cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the clams, cover pot and continue cooking over medium heat for 3 minutes. Next, add the shrimp and scallops, cover pot and cook for 3 more minutes. Lastly, add the mussels, cover pot and cook until all mussels and clam shells have opened, about 2 minutes. Discard any shells that have not opened.

Serving recommendation: Best served individually in bowls. Fill each bowl 3/4 full with broth, and then distribute the seafood evenly between bowls. Add a sprinkling of fresh parsley to each bowl and serve with hunks of crusty bread.

Tips:

  • Fresh crab is also great in cioppino – look for Dungeness or King crab legs.
  • A tablespoon of roughly chopped basil and/or tarragon could also be added with the parsley.
  • For added flavor and texture, freshly diced tomatoes may also be added at the same time as the clams.
  • Recipe can be easily doubled.