Comforting San Francisco Cioppino

December 11, 2011

Cioppino is an Italian inspired fish stew that was made popular in San Francisco.  This richly flavored stew is a fish lovers dream dish.  Chunks of fish, long spindly crab legs, succulent shrimp, sweet scallops and more are cooked in a broth made white wine, herbs, tomatoes, and onions.  It is essential that this stew is served with sourdough bread.  The chewy and slightly tart bread pairs perfectly with the intense flavored broth.  Splurge on yourself a little bit this holiday season and make a comforting bowl of cioppino.



1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
head of fennel, cored, sliced and chopped
coarse salt and ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
4 cups fish stock, (or sub chicken or veg stock)
1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice
1 cup white wine
cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 rosemary sprig
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound littleneck clams
1 pound mussels, debearded
1 pound cooked crab legs, in equal portions
1/2 pound baby sea scallops, foot removed
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail removed
10 ounces snapper, sliced into 6 even pieces
Sourdough bread
Preheat oven to 200°F
Place 6 large serving bowls into the oven.
Slice sourdough bread and toast.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onions, fennel, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened and fragrant for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf, oregano and tomato paste and stir for 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 4 minutes. Add white wine, clam juice and stock and bring to a boil. Next, add parsley, basil and rosemary sprig. Reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cayenne. Add clams and mussels and simmer until opened, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp, crab legs, scallops and snapper and cook for another 2-3 minutes or just until cooked through and tender.  Serve with slices of toasted sourdough.

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