Happy New Year to everyone! As always, I have neglected my blog for far longer than necessary. I suppose I should make a New Year Resolution to be less lazy, but let's face it, I'd screw that up in a week. Though, to make up for my lapse, I am offering you my recipe for Cioppino. I don't have fancy step by step photos, but frankly, if you can't follow the simple instructions for this super easy stew, then you should probably exit your kitchen and pick up the phone to order a pizza.
Despite it's very Italian name, Cioppino actually originated in San Francisco, albeit by Portuguese and Italian immigrant fishermen. It's a derivative from various seafood soups such as brodetto from Italy or bouillabaisse from France. Essentially, Cioppino is a catch of the day combination. While it is very easy to make and not at all time consuming, it can be rather expensive which is why I saved this recipe for the New Year's Eve gathering at The Catty Critic's abode.
Rock My Palate's Cioppino
In this instance I used: 1lb Littleneck Clams, 1.5lbs U4 scallops, 1 large filet Halibut, 1.5lbs large prawn, 12oz handpicked crab claw meat (you can also get a can of crab meat)
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 large diced onion
3 stacks celery chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
14oz organic diced tomatoes (canned)
4 tablespoons organic tomato paste
4 cups dry white wine (I used a really crappy one that I would never drink, worked fine)
32oz (4 cups) fish stock (I couldn't find any, so I used vegetable stock)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
Obviously the first thing is the prep work on the seafood. Steam the clams making sure they all open. Toss any that don't. DO NOT discard the water. If you are unable to find fish stock like I was, this can be used along with vegetable stock. Make sure to peel and devein the shrimp. I also like taking off the tails so it's easier for people to eat. Cut the Halibut into medium sized cubes. If your scallops are large, go ahead and cut those in half. Again, this is for ease of consuming, not for any other reason.
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot and add in the garlic, onions and celery. Stir until the onion starts to get translucent. This will start to dry out, so you can start drizzling in some of the white wine. When it begins to get fragrant, add the remainder of the white wine and let it come to a slow boil, then add in the tomato paste followed by the canned tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and then add in the vegetable stock and the clam water. Bring to a full boil and add in the salt and pepper and the bay leaf.
Add the seafood to the pot. If you were able to get picked crab claws, you may have to pull apart some of the meat prior to putting in. Bring the temperature down to a simmer for 30 minutes then add in the crushed red pepper. You are free to leave the pepper out, but it adds a nice heat, so use as little or as much as you want. I don't recommend too much as you don't want to overpower the seafood.
*Side note: this recipe makes a LOT of soup. I'm not sure how many servings. I would guess 10-12 depending.
The only step remaining is to serve it up! The soup will last for two days in the fridge or you can freeze it and serve it later. Definitely serve it warm and preferably with some toasted pieces of good French bread. I got a lot of compliments on this soup which I threw together sans recipe having never made it before. I hope you have a chance to try making it and I would love feedback if you do! Bon apetit!
Pair with 2010 Deerfield Ranch Winery Checkerbloom Rose