Cioppino is a flavorful and hearty seafood stew, originating from the beautiful city of San Francisco. This dish has its roots in the culinary traditions of Italian immigrants, primarily those from the Liguria region. The name “Cioppino” is derived from the Ligurian word “ciuppin,” meaning “to chop” or “chopped,” which accurately describes the preparation of this dish, involving a mix of chopped seafood. Created by fishermen in the late 1800s, it was initially made on boats using the catch of the day and later became a staple in San Francisco’s vibrant food scene.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
- 1 ½ cups white wine
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups fish or seafood stock
- 1 ½ lbs mixed seafood (such as shrimp, mussels, clams, and fish fillets)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Prepare the Base:
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add Herbs and Spices:
- Mix in the bay leaf, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
- Stir well to ensure the vegetables are well-coated with the herbs and spices.
- Deglaze the Pot:
- Pour in the white wine and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any flavorful bits stuck to it.
- Add Tomatoes and Stock:
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and seafood stock.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Add Seafood:
- Season the seafood with salt and pepper.
- Add the mixed seafood to the pot, ensuring that it is submerged in the liquid.
- Cover the pot and cook until the seafood is done, about 5-7 minutes. The clams and mussels should open, and the shrimp and fish should be opaque.
- Final Touches:
- Discard the bay leaf and any unopened clams or mussels.
- Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes if needed.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Serve the Cioppino hot, accompanied by crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth.
Cioppino is a delightful representation of San Francisco’s rich culinary heritage and the influence of Italian immigrants on the local cuisine. This hearty and flavorful seafood stew is a celebration of the fresh and diverse seafood available in the region, making it a must-try dish for seafood lovers.