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Cioppino is a fish stew traditionally made by Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach/Fisherman’s Wharf section of San Francisco. It was originally made on fishing boats with whatever fish were at hand. Wine was always an important component of the dish and red was used as often as white—it’s all about what you prefer. This cioppino comes to us from California chef and cooking teacher John Ash, who has been an advocate for sustainable-food issues for years and has served on the board of advisors of Seafood Watch—the advocacy arm of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ash chose a variety of shellfish for this recipe, all of which are Seafood Watch Best Choices or Good Alternatives.

photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 75 minutes

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 cups chopped onions

  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic

  • 2/3 cup chopped celery or fennel

  • 6 cups fish stock (see Tip)

  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled or diced tomatoes

  • 2 1/2 cups light- to medium-bodied red wine , such as Pinot Noir or Merlot

  • 2 large bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper , or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 5 thick slices sourdough bread , halved

  • 2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil (see Tip)

  • 2 pounds shellfish , such as oysters, mussels and/or clams

  • 1 pound dry sea scallops (see Note)

  • 1 pound raw shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined

  • 1 2- to 3-pound Dungeness crab , steamed, cleaned and cut into sections, or 8 ounces lump crabmeat, drained, any shells removed

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and/or parsley

  1. Heat oil in a large, deep soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; add onions, garlic, and celery (or fennel). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, oregano, fennel seed and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Strain, discarding solids, and return the broth to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Meanwhile, brush bread with garlic oil. Toast in a toaster oven or under the broiler until golden brown.

  3. Bring the broth to a gentle boil. Add shellfish, scallops and shrimp and cook, gently stirring, until the shellfish just begin to open and the shrimp are no longer opaque, about

  4. minutes. Add crab, cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish.

  5. To serve, place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the cioppino over it. Sprinkle with basil (and/or parsley).

Tip: Look for fish stock near other canned or boxed broths in the soup aisle or in the freezer section of the seafood department. Or use reduced-sodium chicken broth instead. To add seafood flavor to the chicken broth, peel and devein the shrimp and add the shells to the broth in Step 1 when you add the wine and tomatoes.

Ingredient Notes: Find garlic-flavored olive oil near other oils in specialty-food shops or large supermarkets.

Be sure to buy “dry” sea scallops. “Wet” scallops, which have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), are mushy and less flavorful. Some scallops will have a small white muscle on the side; remove it before cooking.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size
about 2 3/4 cups
23 g
11 g
Saturated Fat
2 g
34 g
112 mg
Dietary Fiber
1 g
533 mg
691 mg
10 servings
about 2 3/4 cups each
1 starch
4 lean meat
1 fat
26% daily value
23% dv
Magnesium and Zinc
21% dv
15% dv

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