Monday, December 22, 2008

Recipe from the Twit Army Mess hall - Cioppino

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine, I use chianti
  • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (1-pound) king crab leg, thawed if frozen and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, **
  • 18 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 pound) such as littlenecks, scrubbed
  • 1 pound skinless red snapper or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled (tails and bottom segment of shells left intact) and deveined**
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil


Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half (it will start to look a little syrupy), this should take 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  At this point you can cool the broth & store it in the refrigerator until the next day.  One hour before serving take out of the refrigerator and warm slowly over medium heat until just about boiling (so that the seafood will cook properly)

Add crab pieces or crab meat and clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open, 5 to 10 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.) Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.

Serve cioppino immediately in large soup bowls.

Serves 6 to 8

This recipe can be easily doubled if you have a large enough pot but not made smaller, you need to have that much broth for the seafood to cook properly.

** if king crab is not available you can substitute frozen crab meat (just not surimi it's too sweet) but then leave the shells on the shrimp.  You'll have to clean the shrimp but you need to have the shells in the broth for the flavor.  

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