Every Thursday BBVG brings in some of the best seafood available in the area. I, for one, always plan my seafood meals for Thursday to take advantage of that same-day freshness, because let’s face it, seafood is best right off the boat (or as close to it as you can get)!
This was one of my dad’s favourite recipes and always makes me think of him. Cioppino, or fish stew, is a delicious blend of tomato sauce, clam and fish stock, and fresh seafood. It is a dish that celebrates the bounty that the sea has to offer. Traditionally made with whatever seafood is available that day it can be made with a combination of clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops and any white fish. (Choose any four! I like two shelled items, one fish, and one other.) It’s luxurious, decadent and just perfect for the season. The delicate flavour of anise from the fennel bulb and the white wine (you only need a cup and a half for the stew so choose a good one like this Bread and Butter Chardonnay so you can drink the rest with your meal!) pairs beautifully with the seafood.
We served this with a crisp fresh baguette and a gorgeous arugula salad with a Dijon balsamic dressing. (And the rest of that Chardonnay!)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pats butter
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp. Herbes de Provence (sub oregano)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sugar or more to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
S & P to taste
1 1/2 c dry white wine
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 10 oz can clam nectar
1 15 oz can fish stock
2 bay leaves
1 2″-thick strip orange zest (optional)
20 clams, scrubbed
20 mussels, scrubbed
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb cod or other firm white fish (no skin) and cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 c or more chopped parsley and dill, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving
- Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add fennel and shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic, fresh tomatoes, spices and season with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes more.
- Add wine and let boil until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add canned tomatoes, sugar, clam juice, fish stick, bay leaves, and orange zest (if using). Stir to combine, bring to a low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. If not desired consistency add more stock.
- Remove bay leaves and orange zest. Add clams to simmering broth, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, add mussels in an even layer, then shrimp, then fish. Do not stir. Cover again and cook for 5 more minutes, or until all clams and mussels are opened and shrimp and fish is cooked through and opaque. Stir. Cook a few minutes more. Discard any unopened mussels and clams. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with fennel fronds and chopped parsley and dill. Serve with baguette and lemon wedges on the side.