San Francisco Style Cioppino
1 hour 30 mins
Yield: 10 servings
- 1/2 cup butter (or olive oil)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup dry red or white wine
- 2 tablespoon sugar, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (12 oz.) beer
- 1/3 cup dry Italian seasoning
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 12 clams in shell, suitable for steaming, scrubbed (optional)
- 1 pound large scallops
- 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 cooked large Dungeness crab (about 2 pounds each), cleaned and cracked
- 1 pound any firm white fish such as Snapper, Grouper, Orange Roughy or Mahi Mahi (optional)
1. In 6-8 quart soup pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft.
2. Stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and their liquid, wine, sugar, bay leaf, beer and Italian seasoning. Cover and simmer on low heat until slightly thickened, about 30-40 minutes.
3. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
4. Add clams, shrimp, crab and any other seafood you have chosen (see note #2 below concerning shrimp). Cover and simmer gently until clams pop open and shrimp turns pink, about 20 minutes.
5. Remove bay leaves and discard.
6. Serve in soup bowls with generous portions of sourdough bread on the side.
Notes: This dish requires you to taste and adjust as necessary. There should be a good quantity of soupy liquid in the cioppino. If too dry, add water or wine, but if the water/wine thins the cioppino too much, add more tomato sauce and seasoning. The cioppino should be robust and flavorful with a strong oregano presence. If too bland, add salt and Italian seasoning. Taste, taste, taste!
Note #2: For a party you may need to keep the cioppino hot for long periods of time. Be aware that the shrimp will get rubbery and tasteless when over cooked. Therefore, you should reserve some fresh shrimp and add more periodically. You might even want to discard any over cooked shrimp from the pot.
Note #3: If you need to keep the cioppino hot for an extended period, keep it at a slow simmer. Do not allow to continue at a full boil.
Note #4: For larger quantities just continue doubling the recipe. For a small test batch use half or 1/3 of all ingredients. Taste frequently and alter ingredients to your taste. Don't forget to make notes of all changes as you test.
Note #5: You may freeze left over Cioppino for up to six months.