I have been threatening to make Ciopinno ever since I moved here to San Francisco, and have been looking for just the right recipe. Guess what I discovered - there is no right recipe! As long as you start with some basics, it's okay to change out some of the seafood and veggie ingredients.
Cioppino, according to my Savoring San Francisco cookbook, is a San Francisco original dish, created by Italian dungeness crab fisherman from their native fish soup - cacciucco. When the fishing boats would come back into port, all the fisherman would contribute "chip in" whatever leftover seafood they had and this fish stew was created.
Here's what you will need: Warning - it looks like a lot of ingredients, but you probably have most of it in your kitchen already
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup chopped celery or green pepper
1 chopped yellow onion
1 bunch green onions
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 ripe tomato diced
1 cup of red wine
4 cups clam juice or chicken stock - I used chicken stock
1 can of Italian Style diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley - love the Italian flat parsley for this recipe!
1 T. oregano
2 T. basil, or simply chop and throw in fresh basil to taste
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Now for the seafood: Feel free to substitute or eliminate any of these choices!
1.5 lbs of steamer clams
1/4 - 1/2 lb of fish, cut into bite size chunks. Can be any kind of fish, cod, snapper, salmon..
1.5 lbs of mussels cleaned and debeared
12 large prawns
1 cooked Dungeness crab, cleaned, cracked and divided into serving size pieces
6 oz bay shrimp
Heat oil in a large pot, add garlic and saute' for a minute or so before then adding the onions, garlic, green pepper, (or celery). Continue cooking over medium heat until tender and lightly browned. Add tomato, wine, clam or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add Italian style tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, then lower heat. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add parsley, oregano, basil and continue simmering for 45 minutes, or until sauce is thick and rich. Add clams, fish, mussels, and prawns, cook for 5 minutes then add the crab, oysters and the bay shrimp. Cover the pot, and continue simmering until the clams and mussels have opened and the remaining seafood is cooked through, approximately 10 minutes longer.
Thank you Heather for the ladle! We love it - and it is the perfect serving piece for my ciopinno.
A few hints:
1. As you all know, I don't like oysters - so no oysters were served in my ciopinno!
2. You can leave the shells on the crab and throw the pieces in the pot, but we opted to clean all of the crab, and eat the big juicy legs for an appetizer while the rest of the stew was simmering. (served on our new Beachcomber dinnerware!)
3. We served our ciopinno with a very nice crusty, sourdough bread, since we were making a traditional San Francisco treat, but any rustic type of bread would be delish.
4. You could serve either white or red wine, we enjoyed a very nice crisp chardonnay from "Valley of the Moon", in our new etched fish wine glasses
5. We also grated up some fresh Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. Although none of the recipes I saw called for it, it was an extremely good choice!
Tom devoured two huge bowls! Think I might be spoiling him a little?
Here's some ideas for pretty pasta bowls from Caron's Beach House - coastal beach house dinnerware, just right for serving up a delicious cioppio stew -
New on the site - Beachcomber bowls - I think these cute bowls would be perfect for serving pasta, clam chowder, ciopinno... all hand made, and hand painted, but still dishwasher and microwave safe.
Make sure to see all of the Beachcomber matching pieces, adding more every day in our "Dinnerware for the Coast" category!
Both the recycled aqua-green seashell bowls and the seashell pasta bowls, I think would look fabulous with a serving of ciopinno. These can also be found in the "Dinnerware for the Coast" category on the Caron's Beach House site.
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