To warm up with a bowl of home-cooked seafood stew, repeat after me – Cioppino! Cioppino! Full of flavor, this tomato based soup with clams, mussels, crab, shrimp, squid, fish, and scallops is a real treat for Sunday dinner. Enjoy with some crusty bread.
Whenever I return from the hot & humid, late summer weather in Japan, and try to adjust back to the windy, cool fall days of San Francisco, I immediately crave a steamy bowl of seafood stew. My favorite is the local San Francisco dish called Cioppino.
Cioppino – Flavorful Seafood Stew
Cioppino is an Italian-American dish that originated in San Francisco. The seafood stew is traditionally made from the catch-of-the-day including Dungeness crab, clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, scallops, and fish (read more here). My family and friends really enjoy seafood stew as well, so for dinner on cold days, it’s either Cioppino or sometimes an easy French seafood stew called Bouillabaisse.
There are many Cioppino recipes out there, but the recipe I used is from the famous fish market in Moss Landing – Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery. I adapted this Cioppino recipe a little by reducing the serving size and changing some ingredients. I was afraid of including the whole Dungeness crab (if you read my post about Mango Lassi Popsicle, you know I became allergic to crab in my early 20’s…so sad!), so I only included a bit of crab meat instead.
Please don’t get intimidated by the long list of ingredients because the process is fairly simple, and it’s really worth it at the end. I know you will enjoy this yummy Cioppino seafood stew. I definitely need a big bowl right now… it’s so cold!
While I was researching for a delicious Cioppino recipe, I found this video – Throwdown with Bobby Flay at Phil’s Fish Market. You guessed it, they competed to see who can make the best Cioppino!
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- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ lb Little Neck clams (See Notes)
- ¼ lb mussels (scrubbed, see Notes)
- 2 quarts Cioppino Sauce (recipe follows)
- 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
- 1-½ lb Dungeness crab (cooked, cleaned and cracked, to save time I bought ¼ lb cooked crab meat instead)
- ¼ pound shrimp (shell-on if possible for more flavor)
- ¼ lb squid tubes (cut in rings)
- ½ lb firm-fleshed white fish fillets (I used Pacific Cod, cut in 2-inch cubes)
- ⅛ lb bay scallops
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½-1 onion (halved and thinly sliced)
- 1 fennel bulb (halved, core removed, and thinly sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup parsley (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp sweet basil (chopped)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 can tomatoes (1 can = 14.5 oz) (peeled, crushed by hand)
- 1 can tomato sauce (1 can = 15 oz)
- 2 bottles clam juice (1 bottle = 8 oz)
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- ½ Tbsp brown sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- crushed red peppers (red pepper flakes) (to taste)
- salt (kosher or sea salt) (to taste)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel bulbs and sauté until translucent.
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, parsley, basil and thyme, and cook, stirring, just to warm the garlic. Do not let it brown.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, black and red peppers, and salt to taste.
- Bring to boil and skim off the scum and fat. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered for about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
- Put the olive oil, butter, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, but not brown.
- Add the wine and the clams, and cover. Turn the heat up to medium-high and steam until the clams start to open, about 3-5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and steam until the just start to open, about 2 minutes.
- Now stir in some cioppino sauce, the Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Add the cracked crabs, if using, and the shrimp, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the fish, squid, scallops, and cooked crab meat.
- Gently stir in the rest of cioppino sauce and simmer until they are all just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Serve in large bowls, shells included. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve with crusty French baguette. Enjoy!
Clams and mussels: If you use clams and mussels, make sure to check if the shells are cracked or opened. Those that are just slightly open may still be fresh. To check, squeeze the shell shut. If they don’t stay closed, discard them.
To learn how to de-grit clams, click here.
I used 1.5 pound seafood medley (from Costco) which contains mussels, clams, shrimp, and bay scallops.
Adapted from Phil’s Fish Market Cioppino recipe.
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