Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cioppino - Fish soup

Recently I found this dish and I love it. It is a rich seafood and fish soup, reminiscent of the French "bouillabaisse" and the dear Catalan "suquet", a soup cooked by fishermen with a little bit of this and that (catch of the day). Cioppino comes from San Francisco, inspired from the Italian cuisine. The Italian fishermen started cooking it in his boats and later it became mainstream. Cioppino comes from the word "ciuppin", what means "chopped" and indeed, the ingredients are chopped in small pieces. I am going to propose some ingredients, but if you want to add, remove or replace any ingredient be my guest, remember, catch of the day! Be as creative as you want.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

* 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
* 1 chopped onion
* 2 minced cloves of garlic
* 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley (please, no dried powdery stuff! :( )
* 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.25 oz)
* 1 cup of chicken broth
* 2 crushed bay leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
* 3/4 cup water
* 1 cup white wine
* 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 pound sea scallops chopped (or 1 pound bay scallops whole)
* 12 small clams
* 12 cleaned mussels
* 1 can lump crabmeat (or if not from can, 1 cup crabmeat)
* 1 pound of firm flesh fish ( I use ono, but you can use salmon, cod..)
* Salt
* Black pepper

- Suggestions: you can add baby lobster, whole crabs cut in quarters... also, the onion can be replaced by shallots.

Be a busy bee and prep everything, then you won't have to run like a chicken without head. :) In a large stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Cook slowly until the onion is soft and transparent.

Next, chop the  stewed tomatoes and add them to the pot with all the herbs, the chicken broth, water and wine. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1/2 hour.

Time to add all the seafood and fish. Raise the heat, let it boil, lower heat, cover and back to simmer, about 10 minutes, until clams and mussels open.

Ready! Serve it with some rustic bread on the side to dunk in the delicious broth and some chilled white wine.

Preparation time: 1 hour