If you haven’t heard, the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions for the second time in three years! (Translation, baseball players went to Detroit and smashed up the Motor City.) I’ve been distracted by watching some sensational games during the Giants’ championship run.
In honor of the Giants, I wanted to make a real San Francisco dish. There’s nothing that says San Francisco more than cioppino, the Italian-influenced seafood stew that originated from the fishermen at the wharf who threw in the day’s catch into a big pot and shared the final result.
These days cioppino is pretty expensive once you start throwing in all the various seafood ingredients. (I actually wished I could find some Dungeness crab but it’s not in season yet.) This is an easy dish that brings together all the different flavors of the sea, just like the different flavors of Giants players who came together to create a World Series Championship team. Enjoy!
San Francisco Cioppino Recipe
Makes 4 to 5 servings
2 filet of cod or rockfish (about 8 oz.), cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 lb. mussels
1/2 lb. squid, cleaned and sliced in quarter-inch tubes
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 whole Dungeness crab in shell*, chopped into 2-inch pieces (if in season)
28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes with juice
1 small onion, finely diced
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups seafood broth (or fish stock)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt for seasoning
In a heavy bottom pot or large saucepan, warmed oil over medium heat. Add onion, fennel, and thyme. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until everything softens and onion becomes transparent. Add garlic, parsley, bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes and mix well. Then add fish and cook for a few minutes until the fish turns white all around. Add white wine and cook for about 3 minutes until about half evaporates.
In a bowl, pour out tomatoes with remaining juice from the can. Then squeeze the tomatoes with your hand to break them down. Add tomatoes to the pot along with broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Bring heat up to medium and start adding the remaining seafood, with the longer cooking seafood first and finishing with the quickest cooking. Tip: Be sure to salt the shrimp and the squid beforehand, and make sure you scrub the mussels and pull out any “beard” that might still be showing.
For my pot, I start with the shrimp (to cook for 10 minutes), then mussels two minutes later, and then the squid at the last five minutes. If I had crab, I would throw it in the same time as the shrimp.
Ladle into bowls and serve with sourdough bread.
*If you’re making this in a month, you’ll be lucky to catch the start of Dungeness crab season in the Bay Area. A quick tip on cleaning a live crab: 1) knock the crab unconscious briefly by pounding against the counter, 2) with a cleaver remove the top cover shell on the back then chop the crab down the middle in half, 3) remove the gills on the side and any excess guts but retain the “butter” right under the top part of the shell near the head, and 4) cut into pieces to throw into your cioppino. If you’re skittish about butchering a live crab, then buy a cooked crab, chop into pieces, and throw in at the end to warm up the meat.
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