January 7, 2007

Dave & Mike Cioppino

The first time I've heard of Cioppino was on Road Tasted. Jamie and Bobby stopped in San Francisco for some super tasty soup and it looked fantastic.

I was supremely joyous when Michael Chiarello made it on his show over the holidays. It was so simple! But this is one dish I can never make at my house. Brandon is allergic to the iodine in seafood. So, no seafood stew for the Borens.

Recently, I had the chance to cook for a group of girl friends at one of their houses. Of course, I jumped to the chance to make this fantastic dish!

This is my own adaptation from a very simple and affordable Dave Lieberman's version and Michael Chiarello's technique.

This makes quite a big pot - I'd say it'd serve 8 easy.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 small fennel, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
1 cup clam juice
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
(Optional - crushed red pepper flakes)
1 pound mild white flaky fish, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
1 pound mussels, cleaned and beards removed
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
18 to 24 littleneck clams
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
Crusty Bread

* Note on the seafood: I didn't have littleneck clams so I upped the shrimp to 1 lbs. and we tossed in some thawed mini scallops in there for good measure. You can switch things around to your liking. I would've used the big ol' scallops if I was thinking things through correctly. Hehe. And for the fish, I used orange roughy because it was available. Michael Chiarello also used scallops and crab legs. More fun!

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel. Cook until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano. Stir that around a tad. Then add white wine, water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes (or longer...I just kept mine on simmer until I'm done with the next steps). Season with salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes if you'd like some heat), to taste.

2.5 If you want to make it a one-pot meal, skip #3 and go straight to #4. #3 just bring out more flavor from the fish and scallops.

3. In a separate pan, heat up some olive oil. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper and brown each side, about 2-3 minutes. It'll finish cooking in the soup so don't worry about doneness. Set aside. If you're using scallops, ditto. Reserving the juices.

3.5 If your party hasn't arrived yet, wait to proceed with Step 4. It'll only take 5 minutes to finish up.

4. Add the fish + scallops, mussels, shrimp and clams, in that order. Let cook, covered and undisturbed, until the clams and mussels have opened and the shrimp are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Stir in unsalted butter. Garnish with chopped parsley.

6. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately while hot with crusty bread.

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