Lunch today was a rustic fish stew known as Cioppino. I grew up eating stews like this made by my Nonno, but I’ve never actually made one myself. My mother in law and father in law were coming over for lunch today, my father in law loves fish and I wanted to treat him to something I thought he would enjoy. I followed Giada’s recipe but made a few changes like adding celery, subbing scallops for shrimp and using tilapia for the fish. I also left out the mussels.
I know it’s summer and not really stew weather, but this Cioppino was so light and tasty it was perfect for lunch…alongside some of my new favorite salad – Panzanella!
Also…if you have trouble finding fish stock like I did, the guy at the fish counter told me how to make my own. I purchased some king crab legs on sale, took the meat out (will be tomorrow’s dinner) and used the shells to make my own. You start it by sauteeing celery, onion and mushrooms in olive oil till onions are translucent, then add the crab shells, fresh thyme and black peppercorns. Fill pot with enough cold water to cover shells, I used about 20 cups if you can believe it. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Strain out shells and vegetables and there’s your homemade fish stock! I used some for the cioppino then froze the rest in freezer bags layed flat.
I sent this recipe as my entry to Jeena’s Kitchen Fishing Trip Event - check it out! She’s looking for seafood and fish recipes so if you have any send them her way!
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
3 TB olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
dozen little neck clams, scrubbed
1 lb sea scallops, uncooked
1 lb tilapia, cut in 2 inch chunks
Heat oil in very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, celery, onion and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
Add the clams to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add scallops and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through and the clams are completely open, stirring getntly about 5 minutes longer. Discard clams that do not open. Remove bay leaf. Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread.