Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Cioppino, pronounced “chuh-Pee-no,” is an Italian-American seafood stew made with the catch of the day. San Francisco Italian-Americans invented this recipe in the 1800s, and it must include Dungeness crab. Most countries that border the ocean have their own seafood stew. The French have a Provençal stew called bouillabaisse. In Chile, they have caldillo de congrio. In Brazil, it’s moqueca, and in Positano, Italy, they have pesce all’aqua pazza or “fish in crazy water.” 
To save time, you can buy a good quality marinara sauce from your grocery store and cooked Dungeness crabmeat. 
This recipe serves 2 as a main course and 4 as a first course.

2 cups (500 ml) Casa Marinara Sauce (on page 64 in my cookbook) or store-bought marinara sauce

Soffrito “underfried”
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
1 small leek, cleaned, white part diced
½ carrot, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the olive oil; over low heat, sauté the leek for 5 minutes.
Add the carrot and bay leaves and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute. Set aside.

1 cooked and cleaned Dungeness crab
12 fresh mussels
12 small fresh clams
½ cup (125 ml) Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1 (8 oz/250 ml) bottle clam juice
1 (8 oz/250 g) piece of Pacific cod or other white fish, cut into bite-size pieces
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 scallops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Remove the legs from the whole crab, keeping several intact for garnishing the cioppino, if desired
Pick the rest of the crabmeat from the legs and body sections. Set aside (or chill and then bring to room temperature before serving).

If using wild mussels, remove the beards with a pair of “kitchen only” needle-nose pliers.
Scrub the mussels and clams with a brush under cold running water; set aside in a bowl.
Add the wine and the clam juice to the pot with the soffrito and heat to a simmer.
Add the mussels and clams and simmer, covered, until they open, about 5 minutes.
Remove the mussels and clams with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl, cover and set aside.
Discard any that failed to open.

To the pot, add the Casa Marina Sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes to heat through.
Add the fish, shrimp, and scallops.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer another 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and divide the cioppino into warmed bowls, leaving some broth in the pan.
Arrange the mussels and clams around the sides of each bowl.
Top with the reserved crabmeat in the center of each bowl and pour the rest of the hot broth over each bowl.

Tuck in the crab legs and sprinkle with parsley and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 4

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