Have you ever made homemade cioppino? Me neither! Until tonight, that is. This is a fresh, healthy meal-in-a-bowl that you don’t have to go to a restaurant for.
This recipe began life at epicurious.com. I made some changes to deepen the flavor of the broth. Took a lot of care not to add too much salt and used mainly fresh fish (salmon, cod, clams, and frozen small scallops). If you can’t get fresh fish you can buy frozen, and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
Quick! EZ! Yummy! Fifteen to twenty minutes to prepare, 25 or so minutes to cook. Give it a try on a cool Fall night like this one.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulb cut into wedges
1 large onion, quartered
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup good red or white wine
16 oz clam juice or fish stock
2 pounds skinless fillets of thick white-fleshed fish such as halibut/cod/pollack, cut into 2-inch chunks; can also use salmon or scallops (pictured: salmon and cod)
1 pound fresh mussels, clams, or crab legs in shell (pictured: large clams)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pulse fennel, onion, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped ( or chop with a sharp knife).
Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then stir in chopped vegetables, bay leaf, thyme, red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with the puree, broth, wine, and clam juice and boil, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in seafood and cook, uncovered (keep liquid at a boil), until fish is just cooked through and mussels/clams open, 4 to 6 minutes (discard any that remain unopened after 6 minutes).
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Discard bay leaf and serve in large bowls.