I’d like to tell you I got this recipe while visiting Italy. Cioppino has its roots in Italy and incorporates several regions of the country to make an exceptional fish stew. But, in truth, cioppino originated in San Francisco. Regardless of the name, it is good ol’ American ingenuity that brings us all the flavors in this fresh seafood dish.
I would also like to tell you that I got this recipe while visiting San Francisco. And I HAVE been to San Fran once. But I didn’t have cioppino there. Sadly, one of the best cioppino dishes I ever had was in Dallas, Texas. Alfredo Trattoria’s, an Italian restaurant on Lemmon Avenue had THE best ever! But, after many, many years Mr. Trattoria had to close up shop. He and co-owner Mario Perez had owned the busy restaurant for over fifteen years, but after 9/11 they saw less and less business. So, I’ve been looking for another outstanding cioppino ever since.
I found another, actually. In Seattle at Elliott’s on the waterfront of Puget Sound.
This is a big WOW!
While visiting our friends, Jon and Amy, in January for Jon’s 50th birthday, we actually managed to eat at Eliott’s twice. And yes, you guessed it. Both times I had the cioppino. Don’t fix what ain’t broke! (Unfortunately, no pics of the meal.)
Wow, that was a GREAT trip!
Thanks for walking down Memory Lane with me there for a minute.
OK, back to the biz at hand.
The recipe I started with came from Natalie, of Natalie’s Killer Cuisine who lives nearby in Dallas. Of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to give all the credit to San Fran, especially since the Texas Rangers will be playing the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. So, I had to make this cioppino with a bit of a southwestern flair. I’ll walk you through the west coast version, too.
Cuz I’m a nice gal that way.
Southwestern Style Cioppino
Yields 4 portions (for San Franciscans, 2 for Texans)
1 T. Olive Oil
1 large Elephant Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 Onion, small diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, small diced
1 cup White Wine
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 bottle Clam Juice (about 1 1/8 cup)
1 T. FRESH Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sea or Kosher Salt
1 T. FRESH cracked Black Pepper
1 T. Chimayo Red Chile Powder (or 1 tsp Cayenne Powder)
3 large Tomatoes, rough chopped
1/4 cup chopped Hatch Green Chiles (optional)
6 oz. Halibut, big chunks
8 oz. Mussels
6 oz. Raw Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
4 oz. Scallops (Bay need no chopping, but if you use the large Sea Scallops, be sure and quarter them)
2 T. Fresh Basil, thin sliced
2 T. Flat Italian parsley, rough chopped
In a large stock pot heat olive oil on low heat and add garlic. Stir and allow the garlic to cook for about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium and add onion, carrot and bell pepper. Saute’ the veggies until the onions are translucent.
Add wine and stir, gently scraping any browned veggies off the bottom of the pan. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and green chile. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. This gives the liquid a chance to reduce. After 30 minutes, use a hand blender or mixer to puree’ the vegetables and liquid. You should have a nice, thick broth. It’s not necessary to beat the hell out of all of the vegetables, you can leave some chunks behind.
Add lemon juice salt, chile powder, and black pepper. Be sure and taste the soup at this point. The broth should be just a tad salty since we haven’t yet added the seafood.
Drop halibut in the stew pot, cover with lid, and let simmer in the broth for about 5 minutes. Then add the shrimp, scallops and mussels. Gently stir to coat all the ingredients. Cover and let steam for about 8 minutes. Make sure your heat isn’t too high. You don’t want your fish cooking too fast.
Serve with a nice crusty bread. I found some, believe it or not, Hatch Green Chile Artisan Crusty Bread in the freezer section at Central Market. YUM!
You can purchase high-resolution photos of pictures from this blog and other images here. They make great kitchen decor and gifts. Also, the notecards are great for sharing recipes! More added every week. Being updated as we speak!
Thru The Bugs On My Windshield by V. Suzanne Collier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.txcolliers.smugmug.com/Lifes-Highway.