The recipe holds a special place in my heart – seafood cioppino. Lots of nostalgic memories from almost a decade ago.
When B and I started dating way back during my Stanford college days, one of our favorite restaurants for dates was at The Fish Market in Palo Alto. We would bike there and always order the grilled fish and their seafood cioppino.
I had never even heard of a cioppino before, but once we tried it, we were both hooked (pun intended). Cioppino is an Italian fish and shellfish stew with a tomato base broth. Since college, we’ve lived in and visited many cities, and whenever we eat at seafood restaurants, we always look for a cioppino dish.
B would make this cioppino for me using the seafood mix from Trader Joe’s. He made it for the first time which I loved, but it was just before coronavirus hit. I wanted him to make it again, but because of the pandemic we couldn’t find the seafood ingredients anymore. At the peak of coronavirus, Trader Joe’s frozen foods sections were totally empty every time my husband went to buy groceries, which was surreal.
Finally, supplies have been returning to a more normal amount, and we’re back to making cioppino’s again!
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (we used xao shing instead)
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 large bunch basil
1/2 pound clams
1/2 pound mussels
1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets (we used cod)
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, and reed pepper flakes and saute until the onion is translucent. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, chicken stock and bay leaf. Add basil leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 min. Use a food mill to blend everything.
Add the clams and mussels to the cioppino. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!