Cioppino - A San Francisco Fisherman Stew
Close your eyes. Now picture yourself on the docks of San Francisco in 1880. Children in top hats perched on carriages trot by. The fresh air whips across the bay reminding you that your city never gets too hot. The fisherman are unloading their catch of the day. An old man with weathered hands carries a large pot down the docks, yelling, 'chip in, chip in!' The pot sings as clams, crab, and fish rhythmically strike the edges. The man places the soon to be stew over an open fire at the end of the dock. As the fire crackles he adds some wine, onion and tomato from just across the bridge and lets the catch simmer. The aroma thickens and wafts over the salty boats. The deckhands begin to look up at the man. Gratefully, they migrate to the source for a taste of the stew. It was here that Cioppino was born. Truly a perfect for a cold San Francisco day.
White Onion - 2 each sliced
Fennel - 1 each sliced
Saffron - 1 pinch
Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Canned Tomato - 1 1/2 quart (6 cups)
White Wine - 1/2 bottle
Fish Stock - 1 1/2 quart
Thyme - 3 sprigs
Mussels - 1 lb
Manila Clams - 1 1/2 lb
Squid - 1/2 lb
Sea Scallop - 1/2 lb
Jumbo Shrimp - 1/2 lb
Dill for garnish.
Start off by slicing the onion and fennel. In a pot over medium heat add the vegetables to oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and saffron, cover, and let sweat stirring occasionally until they vegetables begin to fall apart and become sweet.
Add the tomato, and wine. Let wine reduce. Add the fish stock and simmer for 20 min.
As everything is simmering, prepare the seafood by washing the shell fish and removing the beard from the mussel. A fun way to prepare the squid is to lightly score the bodies at an angle and slice them into thin strips. They will curl into beautiful little flowers. Lay the shrimp, scallop and squid on a tray and season each side with salt and pepper.
Now blend the soup, either in a vita prep or with a hand stick blender. Return to medium/low heat and season with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to serve, add the mussels and clams to the broth, after 3 min add the shrimp followed by the calamari and then the scallops. Taste the broth again and season if necessary.
When the clams and mussels fully open in the broth the soup should be ready. Sever in a large bowl, garnish with fresh dill and enjoy!