Cioppino originated in San Francisco and is kind of a simplified version of Bouillabaise. I made a different version of this last week but think this one is better. Courtesy of the C19 Pandemic, getting fresh shellfish such as mussels or clams at the moment is difficult if not impossible. They can be purchased in frozen or canned form but I think I’d just substitute other seafood such as prawns and scallops. I also like using dried chorizo rather than fresh. It imparts a stronger, richer flavour. Serve it with crusty bread, like sourdough.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 6-8 inch dried chorizo, sliced in ½ inch pieces and then quartered again
- 2 cups finely diced fennel (one large bulb) with fronds set aside for finishing
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (I’m conservative with tomato paste as I find it can be overwhelming. Add another 1/2 tbsp if you prefer)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups fish stock (or vegetable stock if you can’t find fish)
- 12 cherry tomatoes- halved
- 8 oz halibut, cut into chunks
- ½ lb scallops
- 1 1/2 lb large prawns, raw, peeled and de-veined
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley (cilantro would work as well)
- 1 lemon
- In a large pot or dutch oven, add a tbsp of olive oil to heat and then fry the chorizo over low to medium heat. It’s already cooked so the idea is to have it release the fat and the spices into the pan. Once that’s done, use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the sausage to another bowl, leaving the oil in the pan.
- Now add the fennel to the pan and toss it in the oil. Cook for three minutes on low to medium heat and then add the onions and saute for another 5-7 minutes until the both fennel and onions are softened. Add the garlic and stirring frequently, cook for 2-3 minutes being careful not to burn it.
- Now add the tomato paste being sure to coat the vegetables best as possible. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The tomato will start to darken which intensifies it’s flavour.
- Add the wine and let it reduce by half. Should take 2-3 minutes. Then return the chorizo along with the tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer.
- Taste the broth for salt. The cured chorizo will have added a certain amount so best to try before adding more. Add pepper and chili flakes plus any salt depending on taste.
- Now add the seafood in stages. They cook at different speeds so halibut first, then prawns then scallops. Two minute intervals should do it. Continue cook for a couple of minutes after adding the scallops.
- Now you’re basically done. Add the parsley, the fennel fronds, juice of the lemon and taste for seasonings.