A special treat for friends and family
Cioppino is a quintessential San Francisco dish. Legend has it that the term evolved from the expression "chip in." It was created by Italian and Portuguese fishermen, who "chipped in" seafood from their daily catch and cooked it in a savory tomato-based broth. Today you can find it on many menus in restaurants. It is one of my favorite dishes and I serve it to my friends and family when our Dungeness crab is in season. I have cooked this for years and each time it is a little different. The essential question for me is whether to use red or white wine. Traditionally, it was cooked in red wine which gives the stew a deeper, richer flavor. Lately I've been leaning towards the lighter version using white wine. Whatever you choose, it it will be a delicious meal. In our house, we serve it with garlic bread that my husband prepares, add a salad and you have a special meal for a cold winter evening that you can share with your friends and family.
Use whatever seafood looks best at the store, as the success of your cioppino will depend on the freshness of your selection. If local crab is not available, use King crab legs from Alaska. If you want a stronger tomato taste in your soup, add another tablespoon of tomato paste. Add less red pepper if you want it to be less spicy. I have also served this with fennel and celery added. In my opinion, the mussels and clams are a must. I figure about 2-3 prawns per person, depending on their size. If you don't have a Trader Joe's store nearby, use ½ pound of calamari instead of the seafood mix. You can prepare the stew (without the seafood) ahead of time. Make sure to have extra napkins, little tools to get the crab out of the shell (I use little forks) and bowls to discard the shells. Do not use your best tablecloth, as you will have stains.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.