Cioppino is an Italian tomato-based seafood stew, loaded with big hunks of fish and shellfish. We’ve included a mix of white fish for body and spot shrimp for sweetness and depth of flavor. Often served on Christmas Eve as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, you can enjoy it all year round with plenty of crusty bread and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
- 1 pound spot shrimp, shells and roe reserved
- 2 cups clam juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled Italian tomatoes with juices
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 2½ pounds mixed white fish fillets, such as lingcod, sablefish, and halibut, skinned
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Garlic-rubbed baguette toasts for serving
MAKE THE STOCK
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the reserved shrimp shells and roe, the clam juice, and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until flavorful and slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Strain the stock into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on the shells. Discard the shells.
COOK THE AROMATICS
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
MAKE THE SOUP BASE
Using kitchen scissors, cut the tomatoes in the can until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the strained seafood stock to the pot. Season lightly with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly reduced, 20 to 25 minutes.
FINISH AND SERVE
Just before serving, cut the white fish into 2-inch pieces and add it to the pot. Simmer just until the fish is nearly cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer just until the shrimp are pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and ladle the stew into bowls. Garnish with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with toasted baguette slices alongside and enjoy!
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Pair it Up
For white wine lovers, try a buttery, unoaked chardonnay to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. For red wine lovers, fruit-forward zinfandel will stand up to the sweet fennel and shrimp.
Spice it Up
Crushed red pepper flakes are in most kitchens, but Calabrian chile paste is worth seeking out. Spoon some into the cioppino just before serving for a fragrant warm finish.
Change it Up
For a next-day transformation, strain the seafood and boil down the broth until slightly thickened. Then fold in the seafood and serve over pasta.
Lighten it Up
For a more keto-friendly dish that is also luxuriously rich, stir 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into the soup before adding the fish.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.