This is my quick “go to” dish when I am wanting a full flavored seafood dish in a jiffy. I am including a recipe for the base, however I will be completely transparent and tell you that my short cut is using Central Markets Cioppino base for busy nights. They sell it in the seafood section in a plastic bag frozen for about $7.00. So all you have to do its bring it to a simmer and start adding your selection of fish and seafood! I also added a swig of dry white wine and a bit more garlic as well… For the two of us one bag was more than plenty.
The Recipe below serves 8 and keep in mind this recipe requires more seafood as well.
If you are using the Central Market Cioppino Broth I have included the quantities for fish and seafood I used for the two of us below, of course you can always double it for a party of 4-6
Cioppino for 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced ( or sub 3 shallots)
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks- chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon fresh pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups dice tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
6 cups fish stock (or use chicken broth see notes )
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed ( or sub more mussels or fish)
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 pound scallops or large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 pound firm fish – halibut, black cod or salmon – skinless and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼–½ cup fresh Italian parsley ( or basil) chopped
optional additions ( clam juice, fish sauce, anchovy paste – see notes)
Heat oil in a large, heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and saute for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Add the tomato paste and stir one minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot, along with the wine. Let the wine reduce by half, then add the stock and bay leaves.
Add 6 cups chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust salt. Please see notes for adding more depth. Once the carrots are tender, the broth is ready (it will only take about 10 more minutes to cook the fish, so often I’ll let the broth “rest” on the stove until right before serving. ) You could also make this ahead and refrigerate.
If you would like to create more depth in the broth, try adding a splash of fish sauce, a small bottle of clam juice, or even a couple teaspoons of anchovy paste.
Sometimes I’ll add a splash of Pernod along with the wine for more anise flavor
If using Central Markets Broth I added just enough fish and seafood for the two of us and this is where you can select your favorites and customize your own Cioppino!
1 Bag of Cioppino base from Central Market
2 1/4 Lb each pieces of Salmon or Halibut (you can use your favorite fish here)
6 Lg Shrimp ( shells on)
2 Lg Scallops
1/2 Lb Mussels
1/3 Lb Clams
Pernot (if desired)
Once your broth is heated through I place the fish in first, skin side down cover and simmer on medium heat for 5 min. Then add the rest of your cleaned shellfish and cover and continue to simmer another 5 min.
Check with a fork to make sure fish is flaky and opaque and Clam and mussel shells have popped open. Sprinkle with fresh Parsley and a drizzle of Pernot to finish.
I serve this with warm Focaccia bread to soak up the broth. Enjoy!