Cioppino is a classic San Francisco seafood dish that will make you look like a superstar in the kitchen. The rich red sauce is a perfect compliment to the seafood and although it takes a little while to cook, it’s a very restaurant-style dish that you can serve in your own home.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced (core removed)
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 3 large shallots chopped
- 4 cloves large garlic sliced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 ounces tomato paste
- 26 ounce can of whole plum tomatoes crushed by hand
- 2 cups dry white or red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 dozen small clams scrubbed
- 1 dozen mussels scrubbed
- 9 16-20 count shrimp peeled and deveined
- 9 large sea scallops
- 3 crabs- dungeness preferred (snow crab, blue claw, or Stone Crab Claws)
- 1/2 pound of firm fish cut into 3 pieces optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more if you like it spicy
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauteuse (deep skillet) over medium heat.
Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and continue to saute for 2 minutes.
Add tomato paste, plum tomatoes and all juices, wine, chicken stock, and bay leaf.
Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and allow to cook for one hour. Stir occasionally
While sauce is simmering in another saute pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sear shrimp, scallops (and fish pieces if used) on both sides, but do not cook fully.
Remove seafood from pan and place on plate for use later. If you did use the fish pieces you can add them to the sauce now. (do not add the shrimp or scallops at this time)
In the same pan add a little more oil, clams and mussels. Cover and steam them until they open. (if any of the mussels or clams are open before cooking discard them, they’re dead and aren’t safe for consumption)
At about the 45 minute mark of the simmering the sauce, add in the crabs, and the mussels and clams with all the pan juices. Continue to simmer.
If you are serving your Choppino over pasta you may begin getting the water ready at this time.
After one hour and your pasta cooking in the last five minutes of cooking, add in the shrimp and scallops.
Taste the sauce and re-season as needed.
Serve over pasta and enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread!