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Classic Cioppino

Classic Cioppino ~ iconic San Franciscan-style seafood stew made with tomatoes, wine, spices and herbs.
Course Fish/Seafood/Main Course, Stew
Cuisine Italian/American
Keyword cioppino, authentic cioppino, San Francisco cioppino recipe, seafood stew
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 4
Author Kelly ~ the hungry bluebird

Ingredients

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 1 pound extra large shrimp ~ I used black tiger shrimp
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several sprigs parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I use Kerrygold salted butter, most recipes call for unsalted butter)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (I always use flat-leaf parsley, but use what you have)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups home made seafood stock, directions below (or two 8-ounce bottles clam juice)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 12 small little neck clams, scrubbed
  • 12 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 6 scallops
  • 1 pound firm white fish fillets (halibut, cod or haddock are good choices)
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  • Prepare seafood stock. You'll need the shells from the lobster and shrimp for this, reserving the shrimp and lobster meat for later. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Add lobster tails to boiling salted water and cook for 4 minutes. Remove lobster with tongs to ice bath, keep water in the pot simmering on stove. On cutting board, snip down lobster backs with kitchen shears and devein as you would shrimp. Remove shells to a bowl, do not discard. Cut lobster meat into large chunks and refrigerate. Peel and devein shrimp, saving shells in bowl with lobster shells. Refrigerate shrimp.
  • To the boiling lobster water add lobster shells and shrimp shells, chopped carrots, chopped celery, ½ cup diced onion, 2 bay leaves, parsley sprigs and peppercorns. Cover and simmer for 2 - 3 hours, stirring occasionally until a nice, rich stock has developed. Strain stock and reserve, you want at least 4 cups.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the 2 chopped onions, garlic, red pepper, celery and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with salt and sauté until softened, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Add the bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and tomato paste. Stir to combine well and fragrant. Add the wine and boil and stir for about 4 - 5 minutes until reduced by half.
  • Add 4 cups of the reserved seafood stock and the hand-crushed tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes to one hour to develop the broth. (If you didn't make the seafood stock, this is where you could add 2 bottles of clam juice instead.) This stock/broth can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Add the clams, discarding any that are open. Cover and cook at a steady simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Dry cod and scallops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the cod and scallops to the pan and sear cod for 5 minutes undisturbed. Carefully flip cod and scallops and add a few ladles of broth mixture to the pan to finish cooking.
  • Back to the pot with the clams, carefully stir in the mussels, lobster meat and shrimp. Cover and simmer for about 5 - 7 minutes until just cooked through and clams and mussels have opened (discard any unopened clams or mussels). Remove bay leaves and taste for salt.
  • In shallow bowls, place a portion of cod and scallops and ladle the seafood stew over the top. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve immediately with warm crusty sourdough bread. Enjoy!