We live out in the country…not really, but everyone we know thinks so because we are pretty north of our suburb, right near a lot of farm land. With this view, you can understand why we don’t mind the extra 20 minute drive.
With any snow storm, I always get the “cozy-up” feeling and want to make warm comfort food. However, coming off the gluttony of the holiday season I wanted to keep it healthy. Cioppino, the Italian-American version of fish stew, which apparently originated in San Francisco- my other hometown- seemed like the perfect answer! You can read about the origination of the stew here: Cioppino. My Thoughts: This is great for a dinner party or a weeknight dinner with the kids when you have enough prep time. It cooks quickly, so it can be served right away.
A few things to note: * Use the seafood ingredients here as a guide, add your favorite seafood. The original recipe includes mussels, but my family is not fond of them so we increase the clams. And the pictures you see here actually don’t show any clams because our local fish monger was completely sold out from New Years!! I had to adapt, but that’s the fun of it. So, you will see clams and mussels written here, but not in the pictures. It’s traditionally made with Dungeness crab- native to the San Francisco area- but, again, you can use blue crab or lobster if you’re on the east coast. So many choices!
Start by sautéing onions, till translucent on a medium-low heat. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Then add the anchovies, which will begin to melt, and the garlic.
Add shallots or leeks (as I did here) along with the dried oregano, salt, and chili peppers. Sauté a few minutes, then add the wine. Continue stirring and add the clam juice and seafood stock. Add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and the can of whole peeled tomatoes with the juices. Next add the saffron, one of my favorite soup spices. These little hairs come off the saffron plant from the inside of the flower…very exotic! and really you only need just a pinch. A little goes a long way with these buggers and besides you’ll sound like a real “foodie” when you say you added these! And that’s what I want to give you here- food props!Let this simmer for about 30 minutes on a low heat. This gives all the flavors a chance to blend together and marry. This is what I love most about soup! I know I’m so weird, but I love building the layers of flavor, this is where your creativity can come into play.
Make this with some good crusty bread, ciabatta or a sourdough would work perfectly with this! Get cozy now and curl up with this soup.
- 2 TBS. Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 anchovy filets
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups white wine (one that you would drink, Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc)
- 1 bottle of clam juice
- 1 carton of seafood stock, see below to make your own, but not necessary.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 28oz can of peeled whole tomatoes, with the juice.
- 1 pinch of saffron threads, about 5-7, again optional these are expensive!
- 1 lb. of a white fish, (cod, halibut, rockfish, etc.)
- 1/2 lb. scallops
- 1 lb. of shrimp, deveined and shells off
- 1 lb. of clams
- 1 lb. mussels (we don't use this unless we have a guest!)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
- Saute' the onions until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Next add the shallots and celery and sauté about 2 minutes.
- Add the anchovies and garlic and again sauté about 1-2 minutes. Don't let the anchovies burn.
- Add the wine and stir about 1 minute.
- Next add the clam juice, seafood stock, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary.
- Open the can of whole tomatoes and add all of it including the juices.
- Add a pinch of saffron. Cover the pot with the lid and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
- At this point you can prepare your seafood.
- You want to add the fish first and cook about 2 minutes. Then add the scallops, shrimp or crab if adding. Give a gentle stir to the pot careful not to break any fish.
- Next add your clams and mussels, cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes until they have opened completely.
- ** Please note: REMOVE any shells that have not opened and do not eat them! These are not good and will make you sick if you try and pry them open to eat them.
- Please note all fish should be fresh. Use what is available in your area for the best results. Mine turns out different depending on what my store has.
- * Serve with crusty bread- ciabatta or sourdough.