When I think of cioppino, I am reminded of a romantic lunch for two at a cozy waterfront restaurant overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge – that was twenty years ago when I tried cioppino for the first time. It was so delicious, I slowly slurped every savory spoonful, and finished by soaking up all the juices with warm slices of bread that I ripped from a baguette nestled in a napkin between the two of us.
It took me years to recreate the experience with my own version of this mouthwatering stew. For starters, I swapped out the mussels and clams for thick chunks of white fish. Haddock loin works well because it tends to hold it’s shape while cooking whereas a thinner white fish would just flake away into small pieces. Then, I added peeled, deveined shrimp and scallops.
Also, I love adding veggies like this version with asparagus and collard greens. Fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or sage add a rich depth of flavor. For example, add some fresh tarragon to the stew then top it with some fresh fried sage for a crispy delectable finish. And don’t underestimate the power of a little wine – it makes the dish!
Cioppino or Fish Stew
1/2 pound jumbo shrimp
1/2 pound scallops
1 pound thick cut white fish like haddock loin
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 28oz can chopped organic tomatoes
2 cups collard greens, stems removed and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon and sage
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and fennel. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and fish. Cover and let simmer until fish is cooked, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, steam the asparagus and collard greens until just tender then add to the stew. I actually like to sauté them in a little oil for added flavor, but either way is fine. Stir in fresh tarragon and lemon zest. Season with salt and fresh pepper.