Brimming with shrimp, clams, and crab, this shellfish cioppino is deeply nourishing. Robust tomatoes and fresh herbs fill out the soup, while lemon gives it a hint of brightness.
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What is it?
Cioppino is a robust seafood stew from San Francisco. Steeped in Italian-American cookery, the stew takes inspiration from traditional Mediterranean fish stews such as the Burrida from Liguria or Brodetto di Pesce from Abruzzo. Both call for layering fish and shellfish in an herby, tomato-based broth.
This shellfish cioppino has its roots in 19th-century California. Less a strict recipe and more an intuitive process of making do with what you have at hand, the dish is traditionally prepared with whichever fish and shellfish you happen to have available.
in the 19th century, Italian immigrants to San Francisco would often fish together. If one had a slow day or ended up empty-handed, others were asked to chip in and lend a little of their own catch to the stew pot. That spirit of generosity coupled with the vibrant flavors of Italian cookery makes for a gorgeous fish stew.
What's in it?
Cioppino recipes vary, depending on the seasonal availability of fish, shellfish, and herbs. In essence, it's a dish primarily made up of what you happen to have access to. Accordingly, there's plenty of room for experimentation and variation. In this version of shellfish cioppino, you'll find crab, shrimp, and clams in a robust tomato broth spiked with pepper and herbs.
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Wonderful recipe. I sure can't wait to try it.
And the fish sauce is inspired! I just read a reference to meats and sausages seasoned with fish sauce being eaten throughout the Roman Empire, so it totally makes sense it would work in Italian cooking. Thanks so much for idea!
Red Boat is the best there is and their story is inspiring. They have it on their site if you or your readers are interested - http://www.redboatfishsauce.com/
Gerald Duke says
Great dish but there is nothing sadder than a scallop with its coral removed
aida mollenkamp says
I love the idea of adding fish sauce!
Thanks for the recipe. I just cooked it an hour ago and it was awesome! I did lots of 'ingredient alteration' as I couldn't find (or forgot to shop!) some ingredients you mentioned in your recipe but still it turned out nicely 🙂
I am so excited to try this! I love seafood but admit that I haven't dived much into shellfish - especially in my own kitchen. I'm glad to see all the veggies that go with the fish too - then you don't have to feel guilty about all the indulgence that goes with rich seafood. Thanks so much for sharing!
I am allergic to scallops but can have all other shellfish... What would you sub for the scallops? This sounds delicious!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
This looks incredible!
Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. This is perfect for a special occasion dinner!
Man, I had cioppino in San Fran last year and it was just to die for. I great up in FL with all the great seafood and it's one of the top things I miss about living in the Midwest. I am definitely bookmarking this for a rainy day!