Monday, June 7, 2010

From our Table: One Pot Wonder

I love seafood, especially in the summer. Last night for a gathering we made Cioppino and it was a definite crowd pleaser. It's a one pot meal and can feed a large crowd; so invite all your friends over and serve this for dinner tonight.

Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco and derived from the various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, so there’s no right or wrong combination of fish to make this dish.

My one suggestion is to buy seafood that’s not overly delicate. Firm fish like haddock, red snapper, salmon and wild striped bass usually work well. Clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, squid and scallops are fantastic additions to this recipe too.

Although not completely traditional (I add meat to mine!), here is my favorite version of Cioppino.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups shrimp stock or vegetable stock
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon honey
Few dashes hot sauce
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds haddock, cut into 2-inch squares
32 scallops
32 Mussels
32 littleneck clams
2 links of spicy Chorizo sausage, sliced
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Lightly oil the bottom of a Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Saute the haddock, scallops and chorizo until golden brown on each side. Do Not Cook All The Way Through. Remove from pan and set aside.

To the Dutch oven, add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine.

Once the pan is deglazed, add the remainder of the wine and cook until reduced by 3/4. Add the stock, tomatoes, honey, hot sauce, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add the clams and mussels, cover the pot, and continue cooking until the shellfish have opened, discarding any that have not opened.

Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the butter and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place all the seafood back into the broth just to warm. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

The best way sop up the broth is with sourdough croutons. If you have a bread maker it's worth making your own bread for this, if not, a store-bought sourdough will do just fine.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 loaf sourdough, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the bread cubes and thyme, toss to coat, and then transfer to a baking sheet, spreading in an even layer. Bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

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