Italian Seafood Stew or Cioppino
Italian Seafood Stew is made throughout southern Italy and is typically comprised of shrimp, mussels, clams, swordfish, and any firm white fleshed fish. Seafood stew is wonderful any time of the year; we like to make the dish with a bit of spice during the summer months and even add a bit of pancetta or sausage during the cold winter months. We also create the broth for our seafood stew in the same dish versus producing a stand-alone seafood stock or broth.
Italian seafood stew is sometimes referred to as Cioppino, though the name is more an Italian-American label (orginating in San Francisco). We love this fish stew because it’s delicious, it’s savory, it’s spicy, it’s a crowd pleaser – and it’s totally adaptable, that is it fits the seafood you love and crave – and have access to. Here’s our recipe:
Italian Seafood Stew Recipe
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½-3/4 pound of shrimp
- 2-3 pounds of firm white fish (this can be cod, monkfish, scallops,halibut, or whatever is local to your area; in Italy this may be swordfish, shrimp, sea bass, mackerel, etc.)
- Clams/Mussels if you're having a hard time finding a variety of high quality white fish (optional)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of saffron
- 1 tablespoon of red chilli flakes
- 1-2 cups of canned whole plum tomatoes
- 3 cups of fresh water (you can also substitute water with a quick broth made with saffron, parsley, herbs, and garlic quickly simmered for 20 minutes)
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 2-3 carrots finely diced
- 12 ounces of clam juice
- 1 celery stalk finely diced
- 1 cup of white wine
- In a large pot, add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, celery, onion, celery, one cup of canned plum tomatoes (skin and seeds removed), and saffron. Cook the ingredients until the vegetables are soft; making sure to break up the tomatoes with your spoon.
- Add the white wine and 3 cups of water and reduce by about 20 percent. Add the fish and bay leaves. Mix well but gently and make sure the fish are covered with liquid. Add Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- One the liquid comes to a boil cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. The key here is to not overcook the fish, generally 10 minutes will cook your fish but not toughen it.
- I like to serve the stew with good bread and make sure that every bowl gets an equal amount of fish. You can also serve the stew with faro or barley.