Friday, February 11, 2011

Cioppino

Not too shabby for a first attempt.

For those who may not know, Cioppino (chee-oh-pee-noh) is an Italian fish soup or stew. The ingredients can vary depending on what fish is freshest and what the individual making it prefers.
Mine was lacking in the common mix of clams, mussels, and shrimp, as those are all things the hubs protests eating.
He will eat calamari tho, so I combined that with some chunky cod filets and called it good to go.

Unappetizing cauldron of tomato
For this dish I used:
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes 
1 medium onion (or two large shallots), sliced
half a head of fennel, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 TBSP tomato paste 
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil (5-6 large leaves)
1 cup fish stock (or clam juice)
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

Start by sautéing the onions and fennel in 2 TBSP olive oil on medium heat in a large stock pot. Cook until softened and turning translucent, around 10 minutes. When almost done add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and tomato paste and allow to cook out another minute or two.

Squid!
Next add the bay leaf, fish stock, white wine, tomatoes, and basil and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

Add your chosen combination of shellfish and fish and cook, covered, for another 5-6 minutes, or until the fish is opaque. Make sure all shellfish used open completely.
Discard any that do not, along with the bay leaf.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with fennel fronds, and serve immediately.

An option if you are making this dish for a party would be to go through all the steps leading up to adding the seafood and stopping there. You could make the soup liquids a couple days in advance. Then, right when it's time to eat, bring the soup back up to a simmer, add the seafood, and you'll be sitting down in 10 minutes, largely stress-free.

This dish is light enough for the summer months, but satisfying enough for the winter, especially if served with some crusty garlic bread!

2 comments:

The Average Broad said...

I love seafood but my roommates hate it, so I have a hard time bringing it into the house. This looks tasty and mild, though, so my question to you is: on a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being 'Is this fish? It tastes like chicken' and 10 being 'I feel like I just licked a tide pool') how fishy did this taste?

RocknRollGourmet said...

I'd say that if you want to dial-back the fish flavor, substitute chicken or vegetable stock in place of the fish stock/clam juice, and stick to hearty yet less "fishy" tasting seafood, such as cod or halibut steaks and shrimp. That way you'll just be poaching fish in a more traditional tomato soup flavor (but with a kick from the fennel, red pepper flakes, and herbs) without making a dish that screams FISH SOUP!

My particular batch probably ranged about a 6 on your scale, due to the use of squid. However, after his first taste my hubs said it was kind of too fishy for him... and then proceeded to eat the entire bowl, surprising both of us.

Hope that helps!