Cioppino (Tadich Grill)

January 9, 2011 § 15 Comments


I was digging through some of my old recipes a couple of weeks ago and I found a cioppino recipe from Tadich Grill. It was almost like finding a twenty dollar bill in a jean pocket. Anyone who is a San Francisco history buff may know that Tadich Grill is one of the oldest restaurants in the city.  I had completely forgot I even had it. I couldn’t remember where I printed it from but after a short search on the Internet, I found several versions of it. The one that was exactly like the one I had was on (here).  I’ve made Sam’s Anchor Cafe’s version before (here) but wanted to try this version. So the plan was to make it for New Year’s Eve dinner.

I found some great precooked King crab legs, mussels, manila clams, huge fresh scallops and gigantic tiger shrimp. The Mister wanted some fish so I also bought some cod that looked fresh that day. The recipe took a little more time than Anchor Cafe’s version since the broth requires more time to simmer, which I liked since I preferred cioppino with thicker broth. It turned out delicious and we preferred it over the Anchor Cafe’s version. But Anchor Cafe’s version is still a good one to have on hand when I’m pressed for time.

The original recipe calls for adding the cooked liquid from the clams to the stew but I didn’t since clams and mussels can still have grit and sand once cooked.  Most clams are cleaned when you buy them but I find that there still can be some residue grit and sand even after soaking in saltwater and scrubbed. BTW, the manila clams were the star of the stew, even more so than the King crab legs, which I removed from the shell and then added at the last minute right before serving just to warm them up.

Adapted from Saveur’s Tadich Grill version

Serves 8


  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped
  • 1⁄2 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • 2  28-oz. cans crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 cups fish or seafood stock (can also use water)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 pinches cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped, divided
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. halibut filet, cut into large pieces
  • 16 sea scallops
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1⁄2 lb. raw bay shrimp, if available, or smallest shrimp available, peeled
  • 12 oz. crabmeat
  • 2 cups + 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 16 manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped


Heat 1/2 cup of the oil and 8 tbsp. of the butter in a large (6-quart) Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, peppers, leeks 1/2 the garlic and fennel and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 cups fish stock (or water), bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, and cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil, 8 tbsp. butter, and remaining garlic in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Working in batches, cook halibut and shrimp for 1–2 minutes on each side. Transfer seafood with a slotted spoon to Dutch oven,  cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes. If using raw crab meat, add now.

In the same skillet used to cook the fish and shrimp, add 1/2 cup of wine. Add cleaned clams, cover and cook until all clams are open, about 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer clams to Dutch oven. Discard liquid and garlic from skillet. If using precooked crab meat, add to Dutch oven now. Simmer for another 5 minutes and discard any unopened clams. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into large bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve with toasted sourdough bread, if you like.

I served some homemade garlic toast with a side of anchovy paste. Chase this with a couple of bottles of prosecco and what a terrific meal it was!

Ending on a completely different note, I’ve had the same INXS song (Don’t Change) in my head for the past two days. IMHO, it’s one of INXS’ best songs, certainly one of my top 5 favorite INXS (and possibly all) songs. So here’s a video of the song from their (where else?) San Francisco tour 1988.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!


§ 15 Responses to Cioppino (Tadich Grill)

  • Dennis says:

    Wow looks awesome! I’m so craving Cioppino now….
    The thing with ordering cioppino first time at a restaurant is that if it ends up being mediocre, you’re usually stuck with having a whooole lot of mediocre cioppino. 😉
    Anyhow great post!

    • CAB says:

      Thanks Dennis! We really enjoyed this version. I made this again and added a bit of crushed red peppers and that was also very good.

      I know exactly what you mean about ordering at restautrants. I don’t order it much for that reason.

  • hi cab – i’m glad you dug up that recipe! i want to try it but i am missing a lot of ingredients. i have 3 packs of clams from seafood city (in shells, cooked and cleand) and a pck of scallops from trader joe’s that are just waiting to be eaten!

    by the way, “don’t change” is one of my FAVORITE INXS songs EVER!!!! good choice!

  • me again…

    i remember seeing inxs in ’88 when they performed with PiL. aaah, the 80’s.

    michael hutchence was the SHIT back then! such a tragic death…

  • sorry it’s me again…again…that wierd smiley avatar isn’t my choice. how can i change the picture?

    • CAB says:

      Hi CC! Hutchence was the bomb! What a loss. I actually had tickets for that concert but couldn’t go because I got really sick that day, boo. Sorry about the funky smiley face. I don’t know how to change it but I’ll find out and let you know.

  • thanks! not a big deal but i got jealous because you have one and dennis has a cool lowrider/homie looking one!

    i couldn’t go to the living colour concert in 1989 at sdsu! that was before they hit it big! i was so mad i couldn’t go because that show went down in history!

    • CAB says:

      Unfortunately not too many choices on the avatars since they are autogenerated. I did switch them to a more generic one rather than funky smiley face ones or strange alien dweeble heads. Mine is actually a custom gravatar I created. You can go to to create your own to be used on all sort of sites.

  • hi cab
    i just tried this recipe tonight but substitued the other 28 oz of crushed tomatoes with 1 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes and the other with plain diced tomatoes.

    I also reduced the oil and didin’t use crab meat. for the seafood, i used scallops, shrimp, halibut and clams. i didn’t saute the fish or shrimp in the olive oil either. i just dumped it in the pot. came out all right.

    the fish and scallops were thawed (from frozen) so i put those first. the clams i had were already cooked and cleaned (in the shell); the shrimp was precooked. so i added those last. wanted to make this easier.

    i made a booboo though. since our printer wasn’t working, i was dashing back and forth from the laptop to read the directions. i thought it was 2 tsp of cayenne pepper. yikes, it was 2 dashes!!! so, this soup may be kind of too spicy. i tried putting in more wine to hide the flavor.

    waiting for my husband and my mother in law to arrive so we can eat it. hopefully, they will all like it! 🙂

    • CAB says:

      Hi CC! I’ve made this recently where I just pretty much dumped everything in and it turned out just fine. The original recipe called for dredging the fish and shrimp and I didn’t care for that too much.

      Oops, sorry about the cayenne pepper. A bit more broth, if you have it, or more tomatoes might help ease the heat a bit. We actually like it pretty spicy so I use about a teaspoon on cayenne. I hope your hubby and MIL likes it.

  • hi cab
    okay, here’s the verdict.

    they loved it!

    i ended up pouring a little more white wine to kinda dilute the broth. i liked the substitution of the fire roasted tomatoes – gave it some extra kick.

    wow, dredging the seafood seems a bit excessive.

    my MIL found it a bit too spicy but still ate it. we ended up putting some rice in the soup to tone it out and that seemed to work.

    i want to make this again and add crab legs and maybe sausage.

    oh, i didn’t get fennel (store was out of it) so i want to try that next time.

    instead of fish stock, i bought 4 bottles of clam juice (score, $1.99 each at fresh and easy).

    thanks for sharing this recipe. it was fun to make and we will have leftovers for days!!!!

    • CAB says:

      I’m so glad they liked it CC! I love using clam juice. The first one I made broth using all the shells from the crab and shrimp. Then I added a bit of clam juice and it was really good.

      I love the fact that you can do all sorts of modification to this dish. I really like the idea of adding rice to it. Yum! Or maybe even pasta.

  • I made this today and followed the ingredient list recipe as written. (Except I used a leftover chardonnay for the wine).

    After simmering for 2 hours then I used a hand blender to puree the soup before I added the seafood. it was slightly thinker, so flavorful and hearty.

    The seafood was cooked perfectly – the fish was still firm, scallops tender and the real crab was so tasty.

    My family has not stopped raving about this recipe and I already have requests for it again.

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

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