Friday, April 9, 2010


A good fish stew, and Cioppino is no exception, includes lots of kinds of fish. So go to the market and get a little of everything: clams, mussels, shrimp, white fish. Even earlier, begin collecting scraps for a fish broth.

Begin by creating the base for the soup. In the pan you'll cook the soup in, saute a mire poix — onions, celery, lots of garlic, and shallots if you have them — in lots of olive oil. Also dissolve into the olive oil a can of anchovy fillets (washed and deboned). Once the onions are translucent, add a large can of diced tomatoes, and start to reduce the mixture. Meanwhile, in your largest pot, cook a fish stock: crab and shrimp shells, trimmings from earlier fish dinners, and the ends of leeks, celery, and onions.

When the stock has cooked an hour, strain it and add to the mirepoix. By now, you should have prepped the fresh seafood: scrub the bivalves, devein the shrimp, cut the fish into one-inch-thick strips. Bring the soup to a boil and add the seafood. Poach everything about ten minutes, until the bivalves have opened and the shrimp and fish are opaque.

Adjust the salt, and serve with a crusty Italian bread. If you're here in Berkeley, I highly recommend the olive bread from the Farmers' Market for a meal like this. A well-chilled wine completes this hearty dinner.

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