San Francisco cioppino

  • Preparation Time45 mins
  • Cooking Time70 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy

For the stew base

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
180g sliced onion
2 tbsps minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
55g tomato puree
240ml dry white wine
1.1kg vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 red sweet pepper, trimmed, seeded, and diced
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
700ml fish stock or 240ml bottled clam broth mixed with 475ml chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
15g julienned fresh basil leaves

For the seafood

12 little neck clams
1 cooked Dungeness crab, chopped into large pieces, or 2 Alaskan king crab claws, cracked and quartered
12 mussels
450g large prawns, butterflied in the shell, and deveined
225g cleaned squid, cut into rings, and tentacles halved
225g sea scallops, trimmed, or firm fleshed fish, like halibut, cut into 2-cm cubes
Serving suggestion: hot crusty sourdough bread
1) To ake the stew base, heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

2) Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits in the pot. Simmer the wine until reduced by about half.

3) Add the tomatoes, peppers, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes. Add the fish stock or clam broth and chicken stock; bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the base, with a cover slightly ajar, for 30 minutes. (The base may be prepared ahead up to this point, refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 1 month).

4) To finish the cioppino. Bring the base to a simmer. Add the basil and the clams, and cook covered, over high heat, for 5 minutes, or just until the clams open. Add the crab and cook for 1 minute. Add the mussels, prawns, squid, and scallops. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mussels open, the prawns curl, and squid and scallops are just firm, about 3 minutes. Serve in large heated bowls with plenty of crusty bread.

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