Cioppino (Seafood Stew)

One of my favorite things to eat at a seafood restaurant is Cioppino.  Cioppino is a seafood stew that has its origin in San Francisco.  Basically you throw in a bunch of your favorite seafood into a broth heat up and eat with some crusty bread to soak up all that yummy goodness.
Normally, I don’t cook seafood at home just because it can be a bit time consuming if you normally don’t cook it.  However, this recipe will be one that will break all my rules because it tastes so delicious.  You definitely have to make sure all the seafood is fresh, especially the clams and mussels in their shells.  That means, no cracked or broken shells, and if they are live, give them a slight tap on the counter, and if the shell closes, you are good to go, otherwise toss them out.  Moreover, for mussels, you have to pull out the hairy beards and scrubs off the dirt from the outer shells.  It’s a lot of work.  I prepped them the night before just because I’m slow.

Ingredients (Makes 7 servings)
1/3 cup butter
1 onions, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 water
3/4 cup white wine
13 ounces large shrimp – peeled and deveined
13 ounces bay scallops
10 small clams
10 mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 crab
13 ounces cod fillets, cubed

Start by making the broth.  Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat – setting 5 on my electric stove.
Chop up the onions, parsley and garlic.
Put it all in the pot with the butter and cook slowly until onion becomes translucent.  That means when the onions are see-through.
Add the canned tomatoes.  As you can see from the picture I added it straight into the pot.  What I should have done is remove the tomatoes and give it a rough chop before putting it in.  What I ended up doing was trying to break it down with my wooden spoon.
Add chicken broth.
Add the dry herbs and bay leaf with water. (wow, I just realize the bay leaf is suspended in midair in this picture.  Thank you to my photographer!) 🙂
Add the wine too.  I actually used vermouth in this recipe.  Extra dry.  Yum!
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  This will give it time for all the flavors to marry with each other.
Mussels and clams are in water (because they are live) waiting to go into their hot bath.
My little crab friend is ready too.
Here is the collection of seafood to go into the broth: Crab (already cooked), clams, mussels, fish (Cut into large squares), scallops, and shelled and deveined shrimp.
I removed all the limbs from the crab and added it to the broth.
Add the rest of the seafood in until the mussels and clams open up their shells.  Do not eat the ones where the shells didn’t open, they are bad.  Bring this mixture to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer again.
And there you have it!  Cippino!  Serve it up with some toasted crust bread, like sliced French baguette.
Thank you so much for my sous chef and my photography for helping me out with this recipe.  Much appreciated! :))
Notes: 
– Being a seafood amateur, I didn’t pay attention to how fast some seafood cook.  When adding the seafood, shrimp, fish, and scallops all cook quite fast whereas the mussels and clams take a while.  So next time, add the shrimp, fish and scallops when the mussels and clams are done and open.  Remove from heat when the shrimp are pink ensures the right amount of doneness.
– Whenever a recipe calls for white wine, I like to use vermouth inside.  Vermouth gives it a little bit more flavor and that extra “something”, I feel.
– Max
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