I heart cioppino. Ate it for the first time on our honeymoon 16 years ago and have been making it / fiddling with my recipe ever since. Last night's was exceptional, and I had two advantages 1) my fish guy had some sea bass bones so I made my own stock - yum. 2) I have a bunch of marinara put up from last summer so good fresh tomato flavor. The point is, use the best you can get your hands on. Also, this makes a mess. There is no way around it. Fish goo, clam shells, splatters, bread crumbs. So when you are done just put on some motivating music, fill your wine glass, and clean with a happy full belly! The live version of Robert Earl Keen's The Road Goes On Forever (with the story about Willie's Picnic at the beginning) is a great start!!! - aargersi —aargersi
Test Kitchen Notes
In her headnote, Aargersi mentions her love affair with cioppino, beginning with her first taste on her honeymoon. Honestly, now that I have made and enjoyed her version, I heart cioppino too. Her love of this dish and experience making and refining her recipe is evident; this is the ultimate. Every ingredient has a purpose, and the dish comes together in a wonderful tangy-sweet-salty-sour way. The briny, chili-flecked olives (I love a little heat and used a spicy blend as she did), and sweet notes from the citrus zest and juices—orange in particular—complement all of the other flavors so well, I cannot imagine making this any other way. I used a mixture of clams, shrimp and cod. I had toasted baguette on hand to soak up all the wonderful broth. I will be making this again for years to come! —gingerroot
red wine (something not oakey - I used a sangiovese)
chopped mixed olives (I used a spicy blend with chili in it - but if you don't like spice then just mix some very good briny black and green ones)
a mixture of seafood - enough for 2 people - we had clams, mussles, dungeness crab and orange roughy
chopped fresh Italian parsley
(I usually add fresh basil as well but the store was OUT and ours froze to death. If you have some, throw it in there)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until it is clear, then add the garlic. Satue a couple more minutes, then add the fish stock, wine and and marinara, and turn the heat up so it is simmering. Zest in the lemon and the orange, then squeeze in the juice. Add the olives in too. Now add the clams and cover. Simmer for a few minutes until they start to open. Add in the fish and the mussles.
When the fish is cooked and the mussles are open add the crab (the crab we got was already cooked and just needed to warm up). Cover for a couple more minutes, Taste for salt - ours didn't need any extra because the olives and seafood added plenty. But you might need some.
Stir in the parsley and serve with grilled or griddled bread for slopping up the juice! You need spoons and forks both to get all of the goodies and the broth!!
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage https://www.etsy.com/shop/AbbiesGarage?ref=search_shop_redirect