Cioppino is essentially an Italian seafood stew, and it’s one of Bobby Calabrese’s favorites.
It is said to have originated in North Beach region of San Francisco, where bands of Italian immigrant fisherman would leave the harbor before dawn.
At the end of the day, the lucky fishermen would not let the rest go hungry. Each would contribute whatever he could from his catch to the stew pot of the less fortunate.
The result was a rich stew with an ever-changing variety of fresh seafood.
Autumn Calabrese and her chef brother, Bobby, make a proper cioppino in this episode of their healthy cooking show, FIXATE.
Much like a traditional Italian fish stew, this cioppino recipe begins with a potpourri of proteins of the sea, including manilla clams, fresh muscles, lean tilapia, and succulent shrimp.
But feel free to get creative and use your favorite mix of fish or shellfish.
While the seafood is the star, it’s the broth that makes it all come together. The broth’s rich flavor is developed by adding ingredients in stages.
Fresh fennel provides the base of the flavor profile along with aromatic vegetables like garlic and onion.
Then, a bouquet of spices reduces in a dry white wine before seafood broth and tomato puree are added.
Once this hearty broth has cooked down, clams and muscles are added, enhancing the seafood flavor. And, just before the dish is ready to serve the fish and shrimp are added and quickly cooked.
This is a somewhat hands-on recipe with lots of ingredients, but it’s not complicated. It’s a simply made, one-pot stew that you can serve on any occasion.