Tuesday, September 18, 2012

in the kitchen: cioppino

A little later than I intended, but as promised here is the recipe that I would love to make for my friends the next time I visit Chicago! It is a tradition in my family to make this stew as a part of our Christmas Eve dinner, along with my mom's homemade French bread (I'll share that one soon!) and usually one other soup. 

So what exactly is Cioppino you say? Cioppino is considered an Italian-American dish, first made in good ol' San Francisco and was traditionally made with whatever was the "catch-of-the-day" i.e. clams, crabs, mussels, shrimp, scallops, etc. They would take the seafood and use fresh tomatoes and white wine as the broth. Eventually it became popular at local Italian restaurants as they spread throughout the city. 
There are lots of different types of seafood you can include depending on your preference, but here is the way my family has been making it for as long as I can remember! According to my parents it was actually part of one of my Aunt's traditions to serve seven fishes on Christmas Eve! 

Ciopinno (Seafood Stew)
serves 5-6 with a small chance of leftovers!

- 1/4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 4 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 2 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
- 1 bottle clam juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cans chopped clams
- 1 1/2 lbs large fresh shrimp (peeled & deveined)
- 1 6oz. can of crabmeat
- 1/2 cup basil
-2 punches cayenne pepper

1. Heat olive oil in large, heavy pot until it is ready to smoke.
2. Add onion, fennel seeds. Saute for 5 minutes and then add crushed garlic, cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, white wine, clam juice and increase heat to a gentle boil for about 15 minutes. The stew should begin to thicken. 
4. Add seafood. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Mix in basil and cook for 2 more minutes; add cayenne pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh bread (french/sourdough)...enjoy! 

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