One more sample recipe from EAT & DRINK in the Northwest, Winter edition! Cioppino is one of my all time favorite dishes and it seems fitting to include it as a sample recipe, just in time for Christmas. My family likes to make cioppino for Christmas. Shellfish is at its peak in the fall and winter. You can ask each guest you invite to dinner to bring a ½ pound of seafood to add to the pot. It’s fun as well as cost effective for a large group. This soup is packed with a variety of seafood in a rich tomato, basil and rosemary broth. Served with warmed sour dough bread and you may just reconsider making turkey or ham for Christmas dinner.
Makes 6 servings
¼ c. plus 2 T. olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
½ head of fennel, cored, sliced and roughly chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T. fresh oregano
2 T. tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
4 c. fish stock, (or else sub chicken or vegetable stock)
1(8 oz.) bottle clam juice
1 c. white wine
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 rosemary sprig
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 pound littleneck clams
1 pound mussels, debearded
1 pound cooked crab legs, divided into equal portions
¾ pound baby sea scallops, foot removed
¾ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail removed
10 oz. snapper sliced into 6 even pieces
Preheat oven to 200°F
Place 6 large serving bowls into the oven.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onions, fennel, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened and fragrant for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf and oregano. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir for 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 4 minutes. Add white wine, clam juice and stock and bring to a boil. Add parsley, basil and rosemary sprig. Reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add clams and mussels and simmer until they open, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops and stir.
Next, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season snapper fillets with salt and pepper and add them to the heated pan. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook another minute. Fish will be slightly underdone.
Remove serving bowls from oven. Place a seared snapper fillet into each heated bowl.
Add crab pieces to the soup and heat through approximately 2 minutes. With a pair of tongs, remove crab legs to serving bowls.
Remove bay leaf and rosemary stem from cioppino and discard. Cover fish and crab with a couple of ladles of soup in each bowl. Serve with sourdough bread. Discard any unopened clams or mussels.