This hearty, fragrant fisherman’s stew turns any dinner into a special occasion. Other than two requirements — top-notch seafood and a flavorful broth — almost anything goes when making cioppino; throw in chopped fennel and shallots, or try replacing the wine with beer. Use this recipe as your guide, but let the bounty of what’s available at your local fish and produce markets steer your ultimate ingredient choices.
Cioppino with Toasted Baguette
5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 can (28 oz./875 g.) diced tomatoes
1 bottle (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) clam juice
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) dry white wine
1/4 cup (1/4 oz./7 g.) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
16-24 littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed
8 sea scallops
8 shell-on large shrimp
1 lb. (500 g.) crab legs, thawed if frozen, cracked
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Cut the baguette on an extreme diagonal into slices about 3/4 inch (2 cm.) thick. Using about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, brush one side of each baguette slice liberally. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.
In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute just until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the clam juice, wine, parsley and basil. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add all of the shellfish, discarding any mussels or clams that do not close to the touch. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the mussels and clams have opened and the scallops and shrimp are opaque throughout, about 10 minutes. Discard any mussels or clams that failed to open.
Ladle the stew into individual bowls, dividing the shellfish evenly. Garnish with the parsley, tuck 1 or 2 baguette slices into each bowl, and serve hot with bowls to collect the empty shells. Serves 6-8.
Recipe from Good Food to Share, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan.