Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cioppino - Quick and Healthy

tasty...delicious...and good for you !!

okay, so I realize "quick" and healthy" are not terms you usually think of, reading this blog. I definitely know how to do both, though...and this soup/stew/whatever is the perfect example. It helps that a) the base is mostly tomatoes, with a little olive oil and fish stock...all inherently healthy ingredients and b) this is a fish dish - also inherently healthy. Hard for even me to fatten this up :) And because it's fish, you don't want to cook it forever...half hour tops, and you're done here. (Well, I did have my own fish stock ready to go in the freezer, which helped...but that's a blog for another day).

Cioppino is an Italian-style fish stew that originated in San Francisco. There are a million variations - it really lends itself to whatever the catch of the day is (even when the "catching" happens in your own freezer)  but the basic premise is a an herby tomato base in which you simmer delights of the sea. Pretty simple, really. Classic Cioppino as seen in nice restaurants and swankier dinner parties usually comes with lovely chunks of white fish and a gorgeous array of shellfish nestled in beautiful shells on top. On a Wednesday night at my house, though, it's just the actual edible parts of shellfish (mussels, clams, shrimp, squid can actually find decent frozen mixes, Trader Joe's has one) and whatever white fish is around - usually left over from our summertime deep sea fishing trip. I think tonight's guest was part of my massive pollock...check this bad boy out !

took me 10 minutes just to reel it up !
Soup is really just so forgiving...simmer in a fragrant liquid for a while, and that tired old frozen fish just thinks it's in heaven :). Some nice crusty bread , a glass of wine or a beer...yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about !

mmm yum !


As noted, really any combination of fish and shellfish goes well in this dish...use whatever you like and have around.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp each dried basil, thyme, and oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
28 oz can chopped tomatoes, any flavor but Mexican
6 oz can tomato paste
1 pound shellfish (meat, no shells) - mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid etc) - frozen works fine
1 1/2 pounds white fish (cod, haddock, pollock etc) , cut into chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in bottom of large stockpot. Add onion, shallot, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent, 5 - 10 minutes. Add herbs and spices (except parsley), wine, stock, chopped tomatoes (with their juice), and tomato paste, and bring up to a simmer. Add shellfish and white fish, and simmer another 10 - 15 minutes or until done. Stir in parsley just before serving.

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