Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (2024)

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This Italian-American Fisherman’s Stew called Cioppino is one of our favorite dishes. It brims with delicacies of the sea but is served up in a rustic tomato/garlic fish broth.

This fantastic recipe originated in San Francisco, where the seafood is in abundance. It consists of the freshest seafood one can find, which is easy in coastal cities but might be a bit more difficult inland. Luckily many larger cities have seafood mongers which you can buy fresh seafood from. I don’t recommend making this unless you have the freshest seafood possible. Want more? Try our Shrimp Scampi or take a diversion from seafood and try our Marry Me Chicken for a romantic night.

Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (1)

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Oval Soup Bowls

Seafood Stock

Fish Stock

What Does Cioppino Mean in Italian?

Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (2)

Cioppino (pronounced chuh·pee·now) is loosely translated from Italian, meaning “little soup”, or from ciuppin, for a fish stew.

As history is almost always blurred somewhat, the story goes that this soup originated in San Francisco with Italian immigrants. Boats of fisherman would “chip in” to others that didn’t get a catch to feed their families. So it was made of a variety of seafood. Crab was abundant in the waters around San Fransisco, so the local Cioppino would almost certainly include crab.

We have made this optional as not everyone can access good fresh crab. We sometimes, if available, will add a snow crab claw to the top of the bowl. A special treat for us so far inland.

There are a variety of stories saying when Cioppino was introduced, but all point to the San Fransisco area for its origins.

How do you Make Cioppino From Scratch?

Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (3)

This recipe is not for the faint of heart when price comes into play. It is a special recipe for company or a romantic night like Valentine’s Day. You could cut the recipe in half if just serving two people.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Shallots
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic (Lots of it)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Tomato paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Dry white wine
  • Fish stock or seafood stock
  • Bay leaf
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Large shrimp
  • Firm white fish such as halibut or sea bass, cut into chunks
  • Precooked snow crab claws (optional) or crab meat like dungeness crab
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The recipe is very easy to pull together; no great skills are required. Just don’t overcook your seafood. Keep to the time recommendations and you will be fine.

  1. Heat the oil in a very large pot and saute onion and shallots until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, red pepper flakes (to taste) and salt and continue to saute about another 2 min.
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  1. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, stock, and bay leaf.
  2. Cover and cook by bringing to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 min.
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  1. Add the clams and mussels and let cook for 5 min.
  2. Add the shrimp and fish and let simmer gently for another 5 min. until shrimp and fish are done, and mussels and clams are open.
  3. Discard any mussels or clams that have remained shut.
  4. If using the snow crab claws, place them in gently about 2 min. prior to the dish being finished to just heat thru.
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  1. Serve immediately with crusty bread. The bread is an absolute must!

What is the Difference Between Cioppino and Bouillabaisse?

Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (13)

Cioppino and Bouillabaisse (I have Julia Child’s original recipe for you) are both a seafood-based soup or stew.

There really aren’t many differences between the two recipes. Cioppinois an Italian recipe and Bouillabaisse originated in France.

Cioppino is a tomato-based broth (with lots of garlic), and bouillabaissedoes have chopped tomatoes in the broth, but it also has the addition of saffron. Julia’s recipe also has the addition of orange too.

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One mouthful of our Cioppino and you will be in heaven. I honestly have not had a better one on my travels. Even in San Francisco!

A veritable feast for your senses. We have been working on this recipe for a while, trying to perfect it. I think we have it nailed.

This is like a seafood stew, except that there is just about everything from the sea that you can think of in here.

Oh, and did I mention that the broth is out of this world! I know that I have mentioned the amount of garlic but don’t worry, it looks like a lot but trust me, you need it. There are so many bold flavors in this dish it totally blends in and makes the whole dish sing!

What do you Serve Cioppino With?

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To be honest, this cioppino recipe needs very little to be served with it. It is a meal onto itself. The only thing that is a must is good quality bread. A crusty bun, a slice of good bread, some butter maybe, and you are in heaven.

Maybe char some bread on the grill with olive oil if you like, and then rub with a garlic clove. That would be perfect!

If you really wanted something to go with it, a very simple salad of greens with a Red Wine Vinaigrette won’t mess with the complexities of the seafood stew.

Enjoy this wonderful pot of seafood stew. It truly is delish and such a traditionally made dish. It is the best of the best!

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Cioppino

Tara Noland

Cioppino or Fisherman's Stew originated in San Francisco but is now enjoyed worldwide. This Italian American classic is full of shrimp, mussels, clams, fish and more.

4.69 from 22 votes

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Prep Time 20 minutes mins

Cook Time 55 minutes mins

Total Time 1 hour hr 15 minutes mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine American, Italian

Servings 6 Servings

Calories 774 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 large shallots chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12-16 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock fish stock if you can find it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. clams scrubbed
  • 1 lb. mussels scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 lb. firm fish such as halibut or sea bass cut into chunks
  • Precooked snow crab claws optional

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a very large pot and saute onion and shallots until translucent.

  • Add garlic, red pepper flakes (to taste) and salt and continue to saute about another 2 min.

  • Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, stock, and bay leaf.

  • Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 min.

  • Add the clams and mussels and let cook for 5 min.

  • Add the shrimp and fish and let simmer gently for another 5 min. until shrimp and fish are done and mussels and clams are open.

  • Discard any mussels or clams that have remained shut.

  • If using the snow crab claws, place them in gently about 2 min. prior to the dish being finished to just heat thru.

  • Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 774kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 101gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 347mgSodium: 3297mgFiber: 6gSugar: 11g

Nutrition calculation is an estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cioppino Recipe - Seafood Lover's Stew - Noshing With the Nolands (2024)

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