Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish’s place of origin is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either sourdough or baguette. The dish is comparable to Cacciucco and brodetto from Italy, as well as other fish dishes from the Mediterranean region, such as bouillabaisse, burrida, and bourride of the French Provence.
A little history:
Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s by Portuguese and Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach section of San Francisco, many from Genoa, Italy. Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco. The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning “to chop” or “chopped” which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the day’s catch. Ciuppin is also a classic soup of Genoa, similar in flavor to Cioppino, with less tomato, and the seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart. At least one restaurant in San Francisco, the eponymous Cioppino, describes, an apocryphal story in which the name derived from the heavily Italian-accented cry of the wharf cooks for the fishermen to “chip in” some of their catch to the collective soup pot.
As mentioned above, this traditional is known the world over, however to break the tradition, I replaced the tomato stock with a saffron one. Once more, what would be the like of cooking if we cannot do anything we want in our kitchen. As much as I understand that SOME tradition are not meant to be broken, I am completely against it when it comes to cooking. This, I guess could become a blog topic and we can definitely find a way to make compromise. Now that said, the recipe I give you is more like a “lazy fisherman soup”, as ALL the Fish and seafood are cleaned.
1 pound (0.500 g) white fish bones
½ cup (125 mL) chopped celery branch
½ cup (125 mL) chopped leeks
½ cup (125 mL) branches of parsley
½ cup (125 mL) chopped white onion
1 teaspoon (5 mL) fresh thyme
1 tablespoon (15 mL) whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon (5 mL) sea salt
8 cups (2 L) cold water
6 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
5 large garlic cloves (20 g) minced
1 medium onion (40 g) chopped
½ head of fennel (40 g) diced
½ teaspoon (5 mL) sea salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups (500 mL) dry white wine
½ cup (125 mL) pernod
¼ cup (50 mL) fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup (50 mL) fresh chopped basil
½ pound (250 g) large shrimps, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound (500 g) calamari, cleaned and finely diced
½ loaf French bread cut into 8 pieces ½ inch (1cm) thick
4 tablespoons (60 mL) olive oil
5 large garlic cloves (20 g) minced
Rock sea salt
To make the fish stock, first, wash the fish bones under cold water. Place them in a medium size pot with the rest of the ingredients and add the cold water.
Simmer for 20 minutes, do not boil.
Let it rest and strain gently, making sure you only get the clear stock and not the deposit as well.
To make the soup, heat 2 cups of fish stock in a small saucepan. Add the saffron and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium size pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook it until it becomes brown for about 20 seconds, then add the onions, the fennel, and the salt. Cook until all the vegetables are softened for about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaf and cook for 30 seconds. Gently pour the white wine and reduce for about 2 minutes, then add the pernod, reduce for another minute. Gently add the saffron flavored fish stock and cook again until the liquid has reduced by half.
Add the chopped parsley and basil, then stir gently. Add the shrimps and cook them until they become pink, then remove them from the soup and place them into the serving bowls. Melt the butter in the broth, stirring it as it melts.
Preheat the oven at 180° C (350° F)
Meanwhile, season the calamari, the halibut and bay scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a medium size non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the calamari, the halibut and bay scallops, without stirring, until they become lightly brown for about 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 30 seconds. All the seafood should be slightly under cooked. Cover the calamari, the bay scallops and the sautéed fish with the saffron Fish stock and bring to a simmer. Transfer the calamari, the bay scallops and the fish into the serving bowls without the fish stock, but placing it back to its original pot.
To make the baguette, in a small mixing bowl, place the olive oil and the minced garlic and stir gently. Brush the mixture on top of each of the sliced baguette. Sprinkle each one with rock salt, and place them on a baking tray.
Place the baking tray into the oven and bake until slightly brown or for about 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf from the saffron fish stock, check the seasoning and bring to a boil one more time. Pour the hot saffron fish stock over the seafood into the bowls.
Serve with the hot French baguette
Yield: 8 servings
You should make sure, that you do not boil the stock, as it will become blurry, you want it to be as clear as possible.
When buying the fish bones, make sure that they are from a white fish, like sole, turbot, or cod. The bones from a salmon for example, are not appropriate, as your stock, will have a different taste and color.
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and fennel. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft or for about 10 minutes.
Tip 2: You can definitely make more fish stock than you might need, and freeze it in small container, ready to be used in the future. It will hold in the freezer for about 3 month.
When you are ready to serve it again, just simmer the fish stock and add it to your preparation.
Do not forget to label and date your container before placing them in the freezer