There’s a new fish market in town, and I love it.  The fishmonger’s kindness in answering all of my questions has made me a bit more brave preparing seafood, and that’s where I thought I’d try making cioppino for my family.  The key to this dish is using very, very fresh fish.*


5 c. fish stock (or chicken stock, if you’re out of fish stock)

1 1/2 lbs. assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets, skinned, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 lb. mussels, scrubbed, debearded (See

1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (buy the largest size per pound you can find).

1 lb. bay scallops

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice

2 c. dry white wine (room temp.)

1/3 c. and 1 t. unsalted butter (room temp.)

5 large garlic cloves, minced

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (See

3 shallots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 whole jalapenos, seeds removed, minced

2 T. tomato paste

2 t. salt

3/4 t. dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

1 t. dried oregano

1 bay leaf

pinch saffron threads

additional salt, and pepper, to taste


Over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the fennel, onion, shallots and salt.  Saute until the onion is translucent, approx. 10 min.

Add the finely chopped garlic and 3/4 t. of red pepper flakes, and saute an additional 2 min.

Stir in the tomato paste and add the tomatoes with their juices.

Dissolve the saffron into the wine.  Add the wine, fish stock and bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the flavors blend, approx. 30 min.

Add the mussels to the cooking liquid.  Cover and cook until the mussels begin to open, approx. 5 min.

Add the fish, shrimp and scallops.  Simmer gently until the fish, shrimp and scallops are just cooked through, and the mussels are completely open.  Discard any mussels that do not open.

Season the soup to taste with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Served the minced jalapenos on the side as a garnish for friends who enjoy their stew more spicy.

Ladle into bowls, and serve.


Can add/substitute 1 lb. clams, scrubbed, preferably Manila; cooked crab
INSPIRATION (Last visited April 17, 2014.) (Last visited April 17, 2014.) (Last visited April 18, 2014.)

*I found a recipe that called for cracking live crabs into the water.  I’m not talking quite that fresh.


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