I was first introduced to cioppino at a restaurant I worked for in Pittsburgh. After my first bite, I was hooked. Pun intended! The broth was light and flavorful and tasted so good with the various pieces of tender seafood. I remember that they served their cioppino with crusty garlic bread and some fresh lemon wedges. It was perfect.
I have made this dish over the years, but it has always been for special occasions since it requires a good bit of seafood, which can be expensive. However, if you’re looking for a meal that is guaranteed to impress your family, this is it.
Helpful tips when preparing this dish:
For this cioppino recipe, I used all of my favorite fish, and added my own Healthyish twist to the broth. While you can use any fish you like, I used jumbo shrimp, Alaskan cod, scallops, and mussels. I left the shrimp shells on my shrimp because I feel the shells add some extra flavor to the broth. Just be sure to devein the shrimp before adding them to the stew.
When prepping the scallops, you’ll want to remove the foot. The foot is the hard rubbery part attached to the scallop. This is the area where the scallop attaches to the shell. While you can eat it, it is not pleasant.
When cleaning the mussels, you’ll want to rinse each one very well. They often times can carry some sand or “beard hairs”. If you see the hairs simply pull them off of the shell. Once all of the mussels are clean, they will be ready to cook.
Some other types of seafood that would work in this recipe include, halibut, crab, lobster, clams, and even salmon. Feel free to get creative. I would recommend enjoying this cioppino with some buttery garlic bread and lemon or you can always enjoy it with a side of buttered linguine. Another tasty option would be seasoned oyster crackers.
If you are not familiar with Cioppino, it originated in San Francisco in the late 1800s. Italian fishermen of North Beach would use whatever seafood was left over from the day’s catch to create a tomato-based stew. It’s believed that cioppino means, “chip in” which is what the fishermen would do when they would make this dish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-6 cloves whole garlic
- 1 cup diced onion , yellow or white will work
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Few turns cracked black pepper
- 1 cup white wine , pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc work best
- 1/2 cup clam juice, bottled clam juice is best
- 2 cups seafood stock
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes , 28 ounces with juice
- 2 tablespoons butter, salted
- 8 large shrimp with shell , devein before adding to the stew
- 1 lb. scallops , about 6-8 large scallops remove the foot
- 1 lb. Alaskan cod fillet, cut into smaller pieces
- 1 lb. mussels , clean and remove beard hair
- large soup pot
- Add olive oil to a 3.5-quart soup pot over medium heat.
- Next, you’ll add the garlic, diced onion, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer until the onions are translucent. About 10 minutes.
- Next, you’ll add the white wine. Simmer until the alcohol begins to cook off. About 3-4 minutes.
- Then, you’ll add the clam juice, 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes with juice, butter, and seafood stock.
- Let the broth simmer for 15-20 minutes before you begin to add the seafood. Stir occasionally.
Add the seafood:
- First start with the shrimp, they will take the longest to cook. My shrimp were very large, so I let them sit in the broth for 8-10 minutes before I added any other seafood.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Next, you’ll add the prepared scallops and Alaskan cod fillets to the broth. Simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Reducing the heat will help prevent the scallops and cod from getting too tough.
- Do not stir the cioppino, simply shake the pot to get everything well incorporated. This will prevent the fish from flaking into small pieces.
- Finally, you will add the mussels. Once the mussel shells open you know they are ready.
- Serve hot with some fresh lemon wedges and garlic toast.