This hearty fish stew originated in San Francisco and was the by-product of the catch of the day, where fishermen would “chip in” some of their day’s harvest to a collective soup pot. With one taste, you’re transported to a chilly dock where you’re gathered around a hot soup kettle with your fellow fishermen.
Cioppino is very reminiscent of bouillabaisse but, I’d like to think, a little less fussy. It’s a “working man’s” fish stew…simple, flavorful, filled with soul (or even sole…heh).
I’ve been on a seafood kick lately…shopping and buying many different varieties of wild caught fishes. We really hadn’t been eating enough fish…so, I set out to change that.
This dish is so adaptable to whatever types of fish you can get…there are no set rules, a very appealing aspect of it for me. The only thing I will tell you that you must have is a robust bread to sop up the broth. Gotta have that, yessiree. I used some homemade sour dough for just that purpose.
Once again, I’ve used the lobster stock from the recipe I prepared earlier; any fish stock will work nicely.
Channel your inner Otis Redding Sitting on the Dock of the Bay:
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled with tail end remaining
- 1 pound firm white fish (I used pollock) cut into bite sized cubes
- 2 pounds crab claws (I used three stone crab)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups red wine
- 7 cups fish or shellfish stock (I used lobster stock)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a stockpot, sauté onions and red bell pepper on medium heat in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and bay leaf, sauté 1 minute more.
- Add tomatoes, red wine, stock and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Taste and correct seasoning.
- Add all of the fish and cook, covered, until the fish is just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Do not overcook.
- Serve in warmed bowls with a crusty, firm bread.