Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
Cioppino is a classic seafood stew developed by Italian fishermen in San Francisco's North Beach area during the late 19th century. Cioppino is a variation on traditional fish soups and stews of southern Italy. It is commonly made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco usually means a mix of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. Cooked in a broth of fresh tomatoes, garlic, and white wine, cioppino has become a famous San Francisco delicacy.
Made famous at Fisherman's Wharf eateries like Scoma's, Alioto's and Grotto #9, cioppino is a dish that keeps people coming back. However, you don't have to make it all the way to San Francisco to enjoy this hearty, robust and memorable dish. Fall is a great time to make cioppino. Dungeness crab season is just around the corner, and the dish scales well to serve large numbers of guests.
If you can get good quality fresh fish and seafood, then you can make cioppino, with or without the crab. I like to wait until crab season and go all the way! This recipe is makes enough to serve about 8 to 10 people.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 quart chicken broth (gluten-free)
½ cup water
1 pinch paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup white wine
25 Manilla clams, fresh, cleaned
25 mussels, fresh, cleaned and de-bearded
25 shrimp, fresh, cleaned and deveined
18 scallops, fresh, rinsed
1½ pounds cod, halibut, or other whitefish fillets, cubed
2 whole Dungeness crabs, cleaned and cracked
Or, if adding just meat, about 2 pounds of cooked Dungeness crabmeat
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil, and saute the onion, garlic until tender. Add parsley, and stir briefly until soft. Add salt and pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, water, paprika, cayenne pepper.
Stir well, lower heat, and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, adding wine a little at a time.
About 15 minutes before serving, add crab. After 5 minutes, add clams, mussels, prawns, scallops, and fish.
Increase heat a bit and stir gently. When the mussels open, the prawns and crab turn pink, and the cod is flaky, the seafood is done, and your cioppino is ready to serve.
I like to serve it with fresh, gluten-free bread.