Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cioppino's Not Cheapino, But Totally Worth It!

When you feel like splurging a little – maybe for that exclusive New Year's Eve party you're putting together – San Francisco's famous Cioppino is a great choice.
This spicy fish and shellfish stew is a big red bowl of yummy, and when paired with a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, it's downright otherworldly.
There are as many versions for Cioppino as there are tourist traps on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf (if you're visiting our city, you've been warned…do not waste your money on an expensive meal down there!).

Some versions use red wine, some white. Some feature a thin broth, while others are so thick you could stand your spoon up in it. They usually all have some type of crab and shrimp, but any and all combinations of seafood are used. As I say in the video, this is not the Cioppino recipe; it's a Cioppino recipe.

I've seriously never made it the same way twice, which is how a recipe like this should be treated. I want you to watch and learn the basic steps, but then go forth, adapt, and find your own expression of Cioppino bliss.

Any serious arguments in the comments as to what should, or should not, appear in a Cioppino will be met with the usual indignation. When it comes to Cioppino, there are two ways to make it – the way you make it, and the wrong way. Enjoy!

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 rib celery, fine dice
1 onion, large dice
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups white wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (28-oz) tomato puree, tomato sauce, or plum tomatoes crushed by hand
2 cups water, clam juice or fish stock, more as needed to adjust thickness
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
5-6 thin slices of lemon
1 cooked Dungeness crab (about 2-lbs), cracked and cleaned, or 1-lb frozen crabmeat thawed
12 oz fresh cod, cut into 1-in pieces or any other white fish
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound fresh mussels
1/2 cup chopped fresh herb (usually Italian parsley and/or basil, tarragon, or any combination)

View the complete recipe


Susanna said...

Chef John, you're so clever (as a cook and a writer) !

missfoxxxxxxx said...

Strikingly beautiful photographs! This dish looks amazing!

Bill W, NH said...

One of my favorite dishes and we have it about once a month - and - never make it the same way, there's always some minor variation. Dungeness crab is not usually available here but we do have plenty of scallops and lobsters. And, mussels are a must.

PrimeBrit said...

Looks amazing, oh and it's pronounced 'wuss-ter.' Ah, that feels better, now, off on my quest to educate people about the right use of the words bring and take! Thanks Chef.

Anonymous said...

Last night I decided to make cioppino! I checked yor blog but there was no recipe, i guess i was a day early! Regardless, an amazing soup/stew that any seafood lover must make! yours looks awesome

PukaDog said...

Interesting. Had never heard of this before, so obviously have never eaten it before. Looks delicious! How about a video of someone eating it? How DO you eat it? With a fork? A spoon? A dull knife? Fingers? A crab cracker thingy? All of the above? I'm intrigued.

Chef John said...

yes, all of the above!!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

I have heard of adding a little cinnamon and a little saffron. Have you ever tried that?

Darya said...

I want it. I must have it. I wish it weren't so late right now.

dan said...

....not cheapino indeed - I just spent $75.00 on seafood and it was worth every penny

Unknown said...

The ingredients for this dish are expensive but worth it. I cooked this yesterday and it was fantastic! Even my wife ate some and, when I asked, she said it was "good" which is the highest compliment from her yet for any of my cooking attempts.

Yes cooking is a new hobby for me and I have found many of foodwishes' videos very helpful / delicious indeed. Many thanks Chef John and keep the new ideas coming!

elena said...

My husband loves this soup and now I am going to TRY and make it. The video is GREAT! Thank you Chef John!!!

Sean said...

I used the broth as an ingredient for the mussels on the half shell for an appetizer while we waited and also used te broth as an ingredient for the ceasers I served to my date...she loved it

Jocke said...

Thanks for a great recipe John! Lovely presentation as always. You're the man!

myrahunny said...

chef john, what if i dont wanna use white wine? what can i use as a subtitute?

Chef John said...

It's an important ing, but you can leave out and use water with a little lemon juice instead.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, if I want to add scallops to this, when should they be added ?
I'm unsure of scallops cooking time.

Chef John said...

Add at the end, they cook fast. I can't give time since I dont know size.

double g said...

wow! that was awesome. the pics don't do it justice, you have to make it and eat it. I added too much taragon, and would prefer it thicker (I had the lid on while it simmered. doh!) but even still it was easily the tastiest thing I have ever made. this recipe will get you laid. =]

Ed the house chef said...

I haven't been to the city in a year now, I miss it. I've been all over the world and San Francisco is still my favorite city. Italy, Germany, France, Spain all have great historic cities, but nothing like Frisco. Thanks for the memories of a hot, spicy bowl of Cioppino.

Unknown said...

What are some good veggies if you don't like celery or onion? I don't like celery and my lady hates onion. I wanna make this, but would feel silly without any veggies at all.

Unknown said...

I'm surprised you didn't say, "You are the Quentin Tarantino of your cioppino!!" :)