Saturday, December 18, 2021


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.
Because I live on the East coast now, I use Snow crabs instead of Dungeness crab. 

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

Soffrito “under-fried”
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 small leek, cleaned, white part diced
1 medium 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 or 3 to 4 Snow Crabs 
12 fresh mussels
12 Little Neck fresh clams
½ cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
2 (8 oz) bottles clam broth
1 large fillet of cod or other white fish, cut into bite-size pieces
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 sea scallops, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Remove the meat from the crab's body.
Remove the meat from a few crab claws, reserving some claws for garnish.
Set aside.

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 broth to the pot with the soffrito and heat to a simmer.
Add the mussels and clams and simmer, covered, until they open about 8 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 4