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This winter is really cold and when this weather hits I think of soup or stews as comfort food. This recipe can be like a soup if you do not use too much seafood but it can be like a stew as you add more kinds of fish. Myself, I like a lot of fish. Crab is not listed as an ingredient but I have used it and it is very good along with the other choices. Don’t overcook any of the seafood as it will be tough and it should be soft and easy to chew. Never use tuna or salmon as it is too greasy and destroys the flavor of the soup. I know you will enjoy this classic recipe. I make it every New Year’s Eve and this year was no exception.

Cioppino

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

3 cans (15 oz. ea.) petite diced tomatoes

2 cups dry white wine

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leave

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 can chopped clams

1 doz. clams in shell (small ones suitable for steaming), well scrubbed - if not available, they can be eliminated, but they do look nice (I have, on occasion, used mussels as an alternative)

1 lb. halibut, cut in 1” cubes (or another favorite white fish, like sea bass or cod)

1/2 lb. bay scallops

1 lb. shrimp (24 to 30 per lb.) peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a 6 to 8 qt. pot over medium high heat, stir oil, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons parsley until onion is limp, 8 to 10 min.
  2. Add diced tomatoes (including juice), white wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano and chili flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer on low heat until flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add clams (both kinds) and halibut. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 5 min. Stir in shrimp, cover and simmer, until clams pop open, shrimp turn pink and halibut is hot, 6 to 9 minutes longer; remove seafood as it finishes cooking. Discard any clams that do not open. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Note: I have cooked everything without removing any of the seafood as it finishes cooking and it turns out just as well. I think about how long each kind of seafood will take to cook and add the longest cooking choices first, then add the others.)
  4. Ladle broth and seafood into wide warmed bowls. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.
  5. Serve with warm, crusty sourdough bread or a French baguette and lots of butter. A mellow red wine will compliment this meal.
  6. Dessert could be lemon sherbet with shredded coconut and a cherry on top.