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You'll want crusty bread for sopping up this San Francisco fish stew.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
- 1 pound skinless fillets haddock or U.S. Pacific cod, cut into 1' pieces
- 1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
- 1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, or frozen king crab legs, thawed
- 1 pound cleaned squid, thawed if frozen, bodies cut into 1/2' rings, tentacles left whole
Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Finely grind in a spice mill; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are soft, about 12 minutes.
Stir in ground fennel seeds, tomatoes with juices, wine, clam juice, and 1 cup water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in fish, mussels, and shrimp and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add squid, cover, and cook until mussels open and seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes (discard mussels that do not open). Serve with bread.
Nutritional ContentEight servings, one serving contains: Calories (kcal) 272.1 %Calories from Fat 28.0 Fat (g) 8.5 Saturated Fat (g) 1.3 Cholesterol (mg) 260.4 Carbohydrates (g) 11.4 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.8 Total Sugars (g) 3.3 Net Carbs (g) 9.6 Protein (g) 35.5 Sodium (mg) 945.9Reviews Section
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
- 1 cup bottled clam juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (1-pound) king crab leg, thawed if frozen
- 18 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 pound) such as littlenecks, scrubbed
- 1 pound skinless red snapper or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled (tails and bottom segment of shells left intact) and deveined
- 3/4 pound sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- Garnish: shredded fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves
- Accompaniment: focaccia or sourdough bread
- Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- While stew is simmering, hack crab leg through shell into 2- to 3-inch pieces with a large heavy knife. Add crab pieces and clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open, 5 to 10 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.) Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.
- Serve cioppino immediately in large soup bowls.
- 3 pounds halibut, sea bass, or other firm white fish, cut into inch-long cubes
- 1 large (2 lb or more) cooked Dungeness crab (hard shell)
- 1 pound (or more) of large shrimp
- 2 pounds little neck clams and/or mussels (mussels should be scrubbed clean and beards removed right before cooking)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 large onion)
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
- Broth from the mollusks
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 2 cups fish or shellfish stock
- An herb bouquet of bay leaf, parsley, and basil wrapped in a layer of cheesecloth and secured with kitchen string
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup minced parsley for garnish
- Optional seasonings: a dash of Tabasco sauce and or Worcestershire sauce
Steam mollusks (clams and mussels) in a small amount of water (about two cups) until they just open. Set aside. Strain and reserve the cooking broth.
Remove the crab legs from the body and use a nutcracker to crack the shells so that the meat can be easily removed once it is served (leave the meat in the shell).
Break the body in half, and then cut each half again into either halves or thirds. You can opt to keep the crab meat in the body segments and serve it that way (more work for the eater) or you can pick out the crab meat from the body segments.
If you pick out the crab meat, try to keep it in big chunks. Keep the top shell of the crab for making stock.
Note you can use prepared fish or shellfish stock, or you can make your own. If you are not making your own stock, you can discard the crab top shell body. If prepared shellfish stock is not available, I would combine some prepared fish stock (available at many markets, including Trader Joe's) with clam juice.
Split the shrimp shells down the back and remove the black vein. (See how to peel and devein shrimp.) I found the easiest way to do this, without removing the shell, is to lay the shrimp on its side and insert a small knife into the large end of the shrimp, with the blade pointing outward from the back (away from the shrimp and your hands).
Once you have split the shrimp shells, you can turn the knife toward the shrimp, and cut in a little to find the black vein. Pull out the vein as much as you can. You can probably also use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the backs of the shrimp.
Alternatively, you can shell the shrimps and devein them. Shell-on imparts more flavor shell-off is easier to eat.
In a deep 8-quart covered pot, sauté onions and bell pepper on medium heat in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, sauté 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes, broth from the mollusks, red wine, tomato juice, fish or shellfish stock, the herb bouquet, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove herb bouquet. Taste and correct seasoning.
Add the fish and cook, covered, until the fish is just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the steamed mollusks, crabmeat, and shrimp. Heat just until shrimp are cooked (just 2-3 minutes, until they are bright pink). Do not overcook.
Serve in large bowls, shells included. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve with crusty French or Italian bread and a robust red wine.
Have plenty of napkins available, a few extra bowls for the shells, and nut crackers and tiny forks for the crab.
Recipe adapted from a couple of recipes by James Beard.
According to the Wikipedia, Cioppino was "developed by the fishermen who settled in the North Beach section of San Francisco. Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco. The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, which described the local fish stew."
Delicious and very easy to make! I added some fresh mussels, clams, eastern scallops, and cod. I will make it again!
Fantastic! Added seafood last and btw, you can freeze the base prior to adding seafood. Boil shrimp in water for stock to add instead of water. Added anaheim chilies since I had from garden, not a fan of vinegar so left that out. Left out parsley since I had everything else fresh. Added cod which held together nicely. Maybe a little more allspice next time.
Made this a few times now and have modified it slightly by making a lobster bisque first and using that in place of the water holding the lobster meat out and adding it at the end with the other shellfish. Fantastic dish
Great cioppino! Made exactly as called for with the exception of using leeks instead of onions, as I had them on hand, and a frozen seafood mix from Costco with scallops, shrimp, mussels and calamari. Was perfect for a Sunday night family meal. Definitely will make for company but using all fresh seafood. This will be a go to dish.
Fabulous and easy! A great family Sunday night dinner. Served with Polenta and green salad. Yum!
Have subscribed to Bon Appetit for 20 years and hands-down this is the best recipe from it I have ever made. Incredible depth, easy to do, even our kids loved it. Serves more than 6 unless by you mean "six hungry football players".
We rocked "Grandad's Cioppino" by substituting a chopped fennel bulb for the celery and adding calamari, prawns, clams and NZ greenlip mussels. I love additions of the cinnamon and Allspice. Check out our pic on March 7, 2011 on Facebook: Cycling Chef
I've made this several times now, and I would never use another cioppino recipe! Follow the recipe as is, and it turns out perfect every time. It needs a liberal amount of salt, as all cioppinos do. I halved the recipe last time and used about 1 1/2 tsp (maybe more). Instead of mixing in the crab meat I like to lump it on each bowl when it's served, otherwise it seems to get lost in the stew.
Excellent--hearty--serves more than 6!!
It was easy and delicious. I added 1/2tsp fennel seeds, resplaced celery with leeks and substituted white wine for red. I did not have clam juice, so added anchovies. Added shrimp, scallops and salmon and my husband loved it.
I followed recipe to a "t" because I had never made Cioppino. Glad I went against my instincts and even added spices that I usually omit (like oregano) - the depth of flavor was AMAZING. My husband believes that this recipe is better than any he has had in a restaurant. This is a keeper!
used tilapia fish instead of sea bass, and scallops instead of shrimp.
This was wonderful. Everyone loved it. Used two 28-oz cans--one diced, one crushed, plus some puree. The addition of allspice and cinnamon really contributed to the full flavor. Used shrimp, squid, and cod for the fish.
We followed the recipe for the most part. I added a bit of chopped red bell pepper. I also added a sliced carrot. Our fish choices were a little more economical. We used leftover lobster (the not-so-economical part), shrimp, bay scallops, fresh chopped clams instead of canned, cod instead of seabass, mussels instead of whole clams, and sliced calamari. I think the moral of the story is. you can use just about anything. The backbone of this recipe is fantastic!
A great basic recipe, which I've messed with a bunch. I substitute 2 leeks for one of the onions. I saute the onions first, then the leek, celery, and etc. The tomatoes . easier to just use two large (28 oz) cans, one chopped, one smooth. I use fresh herbs when they are around, about 3x the amount for dried. And I like to go heavier on the allspice and cinnamon. Make it a day in advance, without the seafood. Enjoy!
Cioppino is an American dish, San Franciscan to be exact. It was originally a toss-it-all-in-a-pot-and-heat-it-up kind of meal. The only problem I see with this recipe is the wine needs to be boiled with the garlic and herbs to reduce by 1/3 and the parsley needs to be tripled :). whole fennel is usually a must, but seeds will suffice :)
I was swayed by all the fantastic reviews to make this cioppino and was quite disappointed. I think I used a couple too many onions (what is a "large" onion?) but I think the bigger problem was the red wine -- it gave the cioppino a dirty taste. I would try another recipe with fresh herbs and white wine in the future.
I made this dish for the first time. Everyone loved it and went back for more. Would like to try it again but take Dee from San Diegos suggestion and make the marinara a day in advance. It seemed to lack a little punch that cooling and reheating would provide. Recipe is enough for eight and maybe more. A definate keeper. Add whatever fish or shellfish you like and it will still be great.
This recipe if perfect. i have had a lot of great cioppinos (being originally from Vancouver, BC, home of great seafood), and this one, while relatively quick and easy, stands the test. (good food in England is generally impossible to come by at a reasonable price, so this is a fantastic find for us!) i used what there was available in the store-no fresh clams, but canned instead, prawns and monkfish. the monkfish was a PERFECT addition to this dish, as it holds it lovely texture very well and tastes wonderful (also called anglerfish, known as "poor man's lobster). fantastic! thank you, Epicurious.
Excellent recipe as-is but would definately stick to a very small pinch of allspice and cinnamon. Makes a lot more then I had expected and would safely feed six very hungry people with just some bread. Expensive of course but I did not feel like I wasted my money at all. How I love Epicurious. Keep it free.
I followed this recipe exactly EXCEPT, I used butter to saute the vegetables instead of olive oil, and I simmered the sauce longer then the 30 minutes AND I added to fish bullion to the sauce. It WAS good, but it was not, stand on your head awesome, as some Cioppio's I have had in my humble opinion. At our restaurants, we start our cioppino with a day old Marina Sauce. I think, that is the secret. After a day, the herbs have blended and seasoned the sauce. Then, we add the fish/fish stock and the shell fish. Also, I would cut down a bit on the onion for this recipe. Just a personal opinion. Otherwise it's certainly worthy of a re-make. I just think personally, I would make the sauce 1 day ahead of time if possible.
This cioppino recipe has become something we're "known" for--everyone loves it, and although I think the crab meat is integral to the recipe, we switch and swap the other seafood based on what looks great at the fish market. Such a wonderful meal paired with a green salad and crusty sourdough bread. Doesn't get better than this.
Easy recipe. Made it for company and was a hit. My husband said this is the best cioppio he has tasted. I made one switch to the recipe. Scallops for crab. This recipe is a keeper
Very tasty indeed. Make cioppino often and the joy of it is what is at the market and in the garden. Have used every variety of seafood and it's always the best ever. Do suggest using a whole cleaned crab, cracked well and halibut. Have added fennel and it's now a staple ingredient, a splash of pernod is good too. Balsamic vinegar and pepper flakes, maybe extra garlic. that's the beauty of a great dish takes well to various changes. Always serve with the best crusty bread you can find and lots of napkins. Yummy.
It was my first time making cioppino. Our guests loved it. It was very tasty. I used more fresh clams to replace the canned clams, used halibut instead of sea bass and added scallops. It was very delicious! This is a keeper!
How to Make It
The easiest way I know how to make cioppino is to make the stew first and par-boil the seafood separately, and then add everything together which would be the classical way to make this.
In fact, doing it this way is most likely what they did back in the day but it can be overwhelming when trying to do it at home and the ingredients are hanging out all over the place.
1. Simply roast the onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers in some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until browned.
2. Next, add in the stock and tomatoes and simmer over low heat. Season well with sea salt and pepper. It’s important that the stew be well seasoned because this is what will season up the seafood.
3. While the cioppino stew is simmering you can boil or steam all of the seafood and then pour into the stew and mix it. If you have a huge pot, then you can absolutely make the stew and slow braise all of the seafood until it’s cooked.
4. To finish it off, garnish it up with some fresh chopped parsley, some optional red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper. Cioppino is super thick because of the shellfish so don’t feel like you have to add it all to the stew.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin)
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 1/2 small onion (peeled and chopped, about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small carrot (peeled, trimmed, and chopped, about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 rib celery (chopped, about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 small fennel bulb (trimmed and chopped, about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small clove garlic (peeled and minced or pressed)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup white wine (dry)
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup seafood stock (or water)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons licorice liqueur (such as Herbsaint, Pernod, or Pastis)
- 4 to 6 ounces firm white fish (such as grouper, cod, halibut or snapper)
- 4 to 6 ounces shellfish (such as peeled medium shrimp or shelled crabmeat)
- 6 to 8 mussels (or small clams)
- Garnish: 1 to 2 tablespoons fennel fronds (chopped, or parsley, or a combination)
- Optional: 2 large dry sea scallops
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fisherman’s Crab Cioppino
This recipe, Vince warns, is not for the faint of heart. Its secret ingredient is indeed fresh crab—so fresh, in fact, that the feisty crustaceans are cracked while still alive and placed directly into the simmering cioppino base. This classic method—the same one used at the original Rafello’s Fish Market—allows every drop of flavorful juice to permeate the broth.
If you’re squeamish about live crab cracking, it’s fine to substitute crab that’s been prepared by your local fishmonger. Simply add the cracked crab (along with a hearty portion of flavorful “crab fat”) during the last few minutes of cooking.
- 4 large live crabs
- 1 lb. large raw prawns
- 2 lbs. raw clams (preferably Manila)
- 1 lb. calamari rings
- Optional: 2 lbs. firm fish filets, cut into chunks (use halibut, sea bass, salmon—or a combination)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 large green bell pepper finely chopped
- 4 cups stewed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1 to 2 cups water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
Preparing the sauce:
- In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, sauté garlic, onions, celery, green pepper and parsley in olive oil until tender.
- Add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, clam juice and crushed red pepper.
- Bring to a low boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least an hour, adding water if needed to keep the volume of liquid the same.
Cracking the crabs:
Being careful to avoid finger injury (a perpetual hazard among professional crustacean crackers), take a firm hold of the live crabs and remove the bodies from the shell. Split bodies in half and crack legs. Reserve crab fat.
Making the cioppino:
- Add cracked crab, crab fat, raw clams and fish (if using) to sauce. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (taste a crab leg to check for doneness). Add calamari rings during the last five minutes.
- While the cioppino is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil and season with a pinch of salt.
- Cook prawns for one minute, then add to cioppino during the last two or three minutes of cooking. Cioppino is done when all clams have opened.
Serving the cioppino:
Serve the cioppino like Vince’s dad always did: over freshly cooked rigatoni (to soak up the broth). Vince suggests accompanying the stew with a caesar salad , crusty sourdough bread and a bottle of red.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 slice bacon, chopped
- 16 ounces seafood stock or clam broth
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, or 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 cluster Dungeness crab, meat removed from the shells
- 1– 1/2 pounds mixed seafood such as white fishes, shrimp, scallops, or any salmon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Old-Style San Francisco Crab Cioppino
San Francisco Cioppino. Many have had it with the heavy red sauce and seafood. Not the best, in our opinion. This recipe was handed down from an elderly Italian lady in San Francisco in the 50's. Hehee. original recipe called for a &quotcheese glass&quot of white wine. So authentic! This recipe makes the most wonderful seafood broth, a touch spicy with loads of great seafood. We have made it for years and it is a real winner! This is a very authentic, old style, San Francisco Crab Cioppino. The recommended ingredients make enough for 6-8 hungry seafood fans. This is the kind of meal where you can sit and eat and sip wine for a few hours. You will need plenty of napkins and bibs are recommended. You will also need some crab/lobster tools to get all of the wonderful meat. Share this with people you know, who won’t mind getting rather messy! Don't forget lots of toasted sourdough garlic bread. Dip it in the broth as you go. If you are a seafood fan and love a great broth, you will not be dissapointed.