Cioppino – Fish Stew

What is Cioppino Stew and where did cioppino originate from?  Food historians generally agree cioppino originated in California (most often cited San Francisco Bay area). The group of Italians credited for the recipe immigrated from Northern Italy, specifically Genoa. The fish? Depended upon the catch of the day.  Italy has many fish stews not all called cioppino but all tasty and enjoyable on a cold winter day.  The great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to prepare and versatile to choose the types of fish you like and leave out the ones you don’t.
What do you serve with cioppino? A big slice of sourdough bread — buttered and toasted — is the traditional accompaniment and a nod to another iconic San Francisco food. However, cioppino can also be served over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.  Whatever fish you choose and what ever accompaniment you favor, this is sure to be a favorite for family or for company.  


2 tablespoons olive or salad oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 28 ounce can tomatoes

½ cup white table wine

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon salt

¼ teaspoon basil

1 ½ lbs. Dungeness crab (or 1 12 ounce packages frozen Alaska King crab split  legs, thawed and cut into chunks)

1 ½ dozen hard shelled clams (littlenecks)

1 ½ pounds striped bass fillets, cut into serving pieces

1 lb. shelled, deveined shrimp

You can substitute any of fish for scallops, muscles, tilapia, or crabmeat as desired


About 45 minutes before serving: Although I make it the day before)

In Dutch oven over medium heat, in hot oil, cook onion, green pepper and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes and their liquid, wine, parsley, salt and basil; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; add crab* and clams, cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add fillet pieces and shrimp and continue cooking 5 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork and shrimp turns pink.

Serve immediately in soup bowls.  Makes 6-8 servings.

*If using frozen Alaska King crab split legs, add during last 2 minutes of cooking time to heat through.

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