Traditional cioppino includes nearly any fish, crustacean or mollusk caught in the water off the northern California coast. Ingredients vary according to availability. To augment flavors, anchovies and concentrated fish sauces can be added in small amounts. Clam juice is another possible option. Additional vegetables can include chopped bell peppers and sliced mushrooms. Crab, especially Dungeness crab, is a popular ingredient. To complete the authentic Frisco experience, serve with warmed sourdough bread.
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Italian Herb Mix
- 1 1/2 t oregano
- 1 1/2 t thyme
- 1 1/2 t tarragon
- 1 1/2 t marjoram
- 1 1/2 t savory
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 large shallots chopped
- 1 med leek white portion rinsed and halved lengthwise then cut in 1 inch sections
- 1/2 sweet bell pepper diced
- 4 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4-8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 C fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 1/4 C tomato paste
- 28 ounce diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 1/2 C dry white wine
- 5 C fish stock
- 1 t Red Boat fish sauce
- 1 t anchovies
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 littleneck clams or other saltwater clams, scrubbed
- 12 mussels scrubbed and debearded
- 12 large uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 lb squid sliced crosswise
- 1 lb firm fleshed fish fillets cut into 2″ chunks (halibut or salmon)
- 1 C Italian parsley coarsely chopped
Italian Herb Mix
- Mix herbs in a cachet using cheesecloth or teaball.
- Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Salt and sauté fennel, onion, leeks, bell pepper and shallots until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute 2 minutes.
- Stir in and briefly sauté tomato paste.
- Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer to blend flavors–about 30 minutes.
- Add the clams, mussels and mushrooms. Cover and simmer until the shellfish begin to open; about 5 minutes.
- Add the basil, shrimp, squid, scallops and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, stirring gently, about 5 more minutes (discard any clams and mussels that have not opened by now). This would also be the time to add any crab or other crustaceans.
- Season the stew to taste with more salt and red pepper flakes.
- Serve the stew in bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.