Lindy's Cioppino is actually a combination of two of my favorite seafood stews, Cioppino and Bouillabaisse. While many of the ingredients are the same, many are not, so I picked and chose what I liked about each and put them together for this delicious filling fish stew.
The making of Lindy's Cioppino
Up, not too early - after all, we do need our beauty sleep- we plan our day. Our Sonoma County Museum is currently showing a collection of maps, old maps, maps from the beginning of maps. Discovery maps. So we decide to go see this exhibit after an excellent breakfast of some Super Simple Scones while enjoying a beautiful dry sparkling Chandon Rose - remember it’s not champagne unless it comes from Champagne and that’s in France. Chandon is in the Napa Valley, in California, so it’s sparkling wine.
As is typical, as we are eating our breakfast we are discussing what else we might eat during the day. Specifically dinner
“I want something seafood,” says the hubby,” and I want to serve a bottle of red wine.”
I know how to make red wine work with fish.
“How about Cioppino?” I ask.
”Sounds great, ” he says, “Whole Foods has some crab and I’ll make some garlic toasts to go with.
Day and dinner planned.
Cioppino is a tomato-based seafood stew that was created by Italian fishermen in San Francisco around the turn of the century.
The exhibit is very interesting.
The maps tell the story of how the world was viewed in the years before Columbus, and even after how much influence the church had in determining what was acceptable as a worldview and what was not. Did you know that Galileo was put under house arrest by the church because he proved the universe did not revolve around the earth, but that it revolved around the sun? And interesting that all the early maps show California as an island off the coast of America.
Well, if there’s a big quake, that might not be too far off the money.
What? No Crab?
After the exhibit, we are off seafood shopping. As the DH said there was crab at Whole Foods, and I prefer their sustainable practices for seafood, meat, and poultry, we decide to go there.
They don’t have any crab.
“But you had some last week”
Well, they say, yes they did have it last week but since our local crabbing season starts tomorrow they didn’t order any from Oregon or Washington and that’s where we got it last week.
You know, the whole local thing.
Great. OK…so new plan. We get our fresh clams, mussels, some shrimp and decide to go with Alaskan king crab leg (yeah, that’s totally local) and a lobster tail (Maine?) to replace the Dungeness crab.
While less local than planned, I think it’s going to be one great Cioppino.
What is Cioppino?
Cioppino is a tomato-based seafood stew that was created by Italian fishermen in San Francisco around the turn of the century. While today, Dungeness crab is considered a required ingredient, you should use whatever fish you like; and use what is fresh.
This is, of course, my special twist on it.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 leek cleaned, cut in half and then thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup chopped fennel
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine or white vermouth
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup bottled clam juice or Lindy's Fumet
- Large pinch red pepper flakes
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 whole mussels or clams or splurge and use both cleaned
- 12 whole raw medium shrimp shelled and deveined, tails left on
- ½ pound bay scallops
- 1 Dungeness crab cleaned, broken into pieces and cracked or lobster cut into pieces, or other crab if you have a local favorite
- 1 pound snapper halibut, cod or other white fish, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Minced parsley
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil; add the celery, onion, garlic, leek, fennel, thyme, and bay leaf. Saute 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and reduce by half (about 3 minutes); add the tomatoes, clam juice, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the mussels or clams (or both); remove them to a bowl as they open. This keeps them from overcooking. Discard any shellfish that do not open.
- Add the rest of the seafood and cook until the shrimp is pink, scallops are opaque, crab is hot and the fish is cooked. Divide the shellfish between 6 heated bowls; ladle the stew over; top with parsley and serve with a loaf of good garlic bread. and a nice bottle of Zinfandel or Chianti. (In Italy many fish stews are served over a garlic crostini, you can do that too with this if you so desire).