Serves: Makes 8 servings
- 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 5 sprigs fresh basil
- 6 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 3⁄4 pound small button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- 1⁄4 cup diced celery
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup fish stock, chicken stock, or top-quality chicken broth
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds halibut or rockfish, skin and bones removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 11⁄4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1⁄2 pound sea scallops
- 11⁄2 pounds live Manila or other hard-shell clams, rinsed
- 2 (21⁄2-pound) cooked Dungeness crabs, cleaned and cracked
Procedures:My friend Linda Wyman used to make a version of this cioppino 30 years ago when our close-knit group of friends would get together for casual Sunday dinners. As fresh herbs became more available I added them and fine-tuned the old favorite. Have a large bowl or two at the table for discarded shells. And plenty of napkins! This stew is a messy but delicious treat. Look for fish stock in the freezer section of your fish market or grocery store.
- Tie together the parsley, basil, oregano, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth, secured with kitchen string.
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and aromatic but not browned. Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the herb bundle, tomatoes, wine, fish stock, tomato paste, and salt. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. (The mixture should not boil actively; decrease the heat as needed.)
- Discard the herb bundle. Add the seafood in this order: fish cubes, shrimp, scallops, clams, and finally crab pieces. Cover the pot, increase the heat to medium, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the clams have opened and the fish, shrimp, and scallops are cooked through. Don't stir during cooking to keep from breaking up the fish pieces.
- Discard any clams that have not opened. Distribute the different seafoods among large, shallow bowls and ladle the flavorful broth over.