Sunday, March 3, 2013


The latest edition of Bon Appetit (March 2013) arrived in my mailbox and as usual, there were at least a dozen recipes I want to try.  This weekend I tried my hand at making Cioppino, an Italian seafood stew.  It's one of The Husband's favorite dishes when we go to seafood restaurants and I have never made it at home.

A trip to my favorite fish store, Fitts was in order and after getting all of the necessary ingredients, including their in-store made fish stock, I got busy in the kitchen.  The recipe calls for bottled clam juice but I figured fish stock would make a better soup. I also cut back a tad on the red pepper flakes but actually could have left the measurements as stated. It was a little on the mild side. I also omitted the step at the end that calls for adding butter to the soup.  Who needs the extra calories??  Though there appears to be a lot of steps to this recipe, it went together very easily.  This recipe states serves 6-8 so I cut it in half for the two of us and we'll have leftovers tomorrow. 

For the photo shoot, I left the seafood in their shells. But in actuality, when it came time to serve I deshelled the clams and mussels because really,  who wants to deal with those shells at the dinner table (or in the TV room if truth be told!)  I got the words of approval from The Husband when he stated "This is the best soup ever."  Praise indeed!

(Serves 6-8)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 8-ounce bottles clam juice (or 16 ounces of fish stock)
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pounds any mix of mussels (debearded), clams, or cockles, scrubbed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound firm skinless white fish fillets (such as sea bass), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Flat-leaf parsley leaves (for serving)

Toasted country bread, rubbed with garlic and olive oil (for serving)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes; stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add wine. Return pot to heat, bring to a boil, and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, crushing with your hands as you add them.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15-20 minutes. Add clam juice, parsley, bay leaves, and 8 cups water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld, 10-15 minutes more. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaves. DO AHEAD: Broth can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Reheat before continuing.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot; stir often until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; add mussels and wine. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells open (discard any that do not open), about 4 minutes.

Add reserved broth; bring to a simmer. Add fish and shrimp. Cover; cook just until opaque, about 4 minutes. Stir in butter; season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls; top with parsley. Serve with toast.


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