I grew up not really liking seafood. Some shrimp, canned tuna, occasional salmon and fish sticks was it. As an adult, I started exploring more and finding that I liked it. On one trip to San Francisco, I dove full on into a bowl of Cioppino and have never looked back. KK from KnowledgeKnut brings a quick version of the dish today. Take a look at KnowledgeKnut and the great recipe below…
One of the best times of the year to buy groceries is now, everything is on sale, and the prices are great. With that in mind I have taken to cruising through the grocery store a couple of times a week. Lately, I noticed that in my local Safeway’s Fish/Meat department they started packaging a seafood mix. When I saw this I immediately thought of making Ceviche. Problem was, I wasn’t going home right away and I would be having a vegetarian friend over soon. So, I put off purchasing the mix until later. When I came back, they had packaged a much larger amount – almost a pound – and I wasn’t interested in making that much ceviche! So, the next thought was Cioppino!
For those of you that are not on the West Coast – this is what Cioppino is:
“Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish’s place of origin is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either sourdough or baguette.” – Wikipedia
I have wanted to make homemade Cioppino for ages, but never wanted to buy all those ingredients separately. This was the perfect solution! So I purchased the mix and rushed home with my prize. Now, how exactly was I going to do this? I perused a couple of recipes and chose this as a guideline only:
Better Homes & Garden (Limited Edition Breast Cancer Support p. 500)
6 oz fresh or frozen cod
6 oz fresh or frozen peeled, deveined shrimp
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBL olive or cooking oil
2 14 1/2 ounce cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained.
1/2 cup water
3 TBL snipped fresh basil.
1. Thaw cod and shrimp, if frozen. Cut cod into 1-inch pieces; set aside. In a large saucepan cook sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes and water. Bring to boiling. Stir in cod and shrimp. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for up to 2 to 3 minutes or until cod flakes easily when tested with a fork and shrimp turn opaque. Stir in basil.
Basically I didn’t use the recipe at all. Here’s what I did:
About a month ago I took the last tomatoes of the season and with a pepper, shallots, garlic and herbs made a sauce. (So, that takes care of the tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic & pepper.)
Now, I have not come across a recipe that includes pasta – but to me it makes perfect sense, and since I had half a package of Orzo left I put that in with the tomato sauce/soup. That took the longest to cook.
I then took a good look at the seafood mix and determined that it contained surimi (fake, cooked crab), cooked mussels, raw shrimp and raw squid. I cut them all into equalish sized pieces; there is nothing worse than overcooked seafood.
Once the orzo had mostly cooked, I added the seafood and watched for the shrimp to turn opaque/pinkish.
Now I also added the liquid from the tray that the seafood was in. However, between what is already on the seafood and the leftover liquid, it made the Cioppino very briny. If you like that – great – go for it. I had a bowl and decided that it was a little too briny for me, so added the remained of the original tomato sauce (approx. 12 more ounces) and that took care of that.
I topped it off with some grated parmesan cheese and took out the red pepper flakes just in case!
Easy, and doable, a very inexpensive, lush meal. Don’t forget some garlic bread & red wine!