Cioppino (with Sourdough Crouton and Anchovy Butter)

January 27, 2010 § 4 Comments

It’s been a few years since we’ve had cioppino, the last time during a short trip to San Francisco in 2005. With Dennis’ cioppino adventures (here) and Mike & Sherry’s Feast of the 7 Fishes, how could anyone not be in the mood for seafood? I mentioned to the Mister about all the seafood posts lately and he said, “mmm, cioppino!”

I went with what looked good at the markets that day but avoided crab. I’m mildly allergic to shellfish with the exception of crab, highly allergic. Too bad since I love King Crab and there were some really good looking legs. I got some mussels, squid (pre-cleaned), cod, giant white tiger shrimp and clams. I wanted littlenecks or even countnecks but the stores I went to only had cherrystones. Although they are quite large and not really suited for the cioppino I had in mind, I still wanted clams so I shucked sucked it up and went with cherrystones. I was also hoping for some red snapper but that didn’t happen either.

I didn’t have fish stock on hand but had some frozen shrimp that was starting to get freezer burn. So I used those to make shrimp stock instead (15 shrimps with shell on, celery, carrots, onions, garlic and 3 quarts of water — simmered for 45 minutes). I made a bit of extra stock to put in the freezer.

Adapted from Sam’s Anchor Cafe,  (Serves 2-3 people)

For Ciopppino:


1/4 C olive oil
8 prawns, shelled and deveined
8-10 littleneck clams, scrubbed
8-10 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
6 oz fresh fish fillets (salmon, halibut, red snapper or cod)
5 clean squid, cut into rings
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 16-oz diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp chopped basil (or 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp chopped oregano (or 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp chopped thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
4 cups seafood stock (fish, lobster, shrimp, etc.)
1 C dry white wine
Salt and pepper


In large pot, heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil using medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add wine and reduce wine by half. Add seafood stock, tomatoes, red bell peppers, thyme, basil and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the broth cooks, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat in a large sauté pan. Season fish with salt and pepper. Cook fish until brown on both sides. Remove from heat to a plate. Add another 2 tablespoon of oil to the same pan and add shrimp. Saute shrimp on each side until half-way cooked, depending on size could take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes. Removed from heat to a plate. It’s better err on side of undercook at this point since it will finish cooking in the broth. Don’t want to cook the shrimp all the way through or else it may become tough and chewy while finishing off in the broth.

Once the broth has reduced down a bit and thickened slightly, add the clams and mussels. Cook until the clams (see note below) and mussels open. Toss out any unopened shells after 3 minutes. Add the squid, fish and shrimp, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, add salt and fresh ground pepper as needed.

Note on the clams: Since I used cherrystones, the cooking time doubled. So rather than risk having the other seafood overcook, I took the larger clams out as soon as they started to open, shucked out the meat and put it back into the broth with the rest of the seafood to finish cooking.

For the Sourdough Bread and Anchovy Butter, I used Fulton Fish Market’s crouton recipe here. This is a must with the cioppino!

Postscript:  I was flipping through Mastering the Art of French Cooking the other day and came across Anchovy Butter in the cookbook. It can be made in a large batch, rolled and then frozen until needed. Simple yet wonderfully delicious!


§ 4 Responses to Cioppino (with Sourdough Crouton and Anchovy Butter)

  • Dennis says:

    Looks wonderful Carol! I can imagine the brothy soup having a lot of flavor the way you described the recipe. Btw, I used to be mildly allergic to shellfish too (shrimp and lobster). One day I was suddenly fine with it, funny.

  • mike says:

    Looks very tasty – I love the idea of anchovy butter!

    • CAB says:

      Thanks, Mike! That butter was so good with the toasty bread. I didn’t have anchovy paste and had to use fillets so there were little bits of anchovies in the butter, which I enjoyed. I think maybe a combo of paste and mushed fillets would be a great combo.

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