Seafood Cioppino Recipe – A dazzling stew to delight the senses and warm the belly. This rustic seafood stew is not to be missed!
It was luring me. Making it’s beguiling qualities present at every turn. Cioppino.
First I watched a celebrity chef make it on TV. Next, a friend of mine found a seafood cioppino recipe and emailed it to me. A few weeks later, I came across yet another version of seafood cioppino in a beloved cookbook, previously undiscovered. And again, fish soup, printed in the next edition of my favorite magazine.
Seafood Cioppino. I couldn’t escape it.
Pronounced “Chip-een-o.” An American creation from San Francisco.
Fishermen and fishmongers, mostly Italian immigrants, invented this at the market. As the story goes, one said to another, “Can you chip-in-o some fish?” “Si!” “And you, chip-in-o some clams?” “Si, si.” This continued until every necessary item was “chipped in” for a fantastic communal meal.
Who knows if this is truly how cioppino came to be, but I love the thought of it.
The Perfect Casual or Show Off Meal
Regardless of it’s humble, and formally unknown origin, this is the most lovely seafood stew I have ever had the honor of tasting. This is no Tuesday night, throw-together dinner. A good Seafood Cioppino Recipe is an event in a bowl!
The broth alone has a wonderfully complex fusion of both robust and delicate flavors. And the seafood… anything you add clams or lobster to, can’t be bad. This is a perfect show-off meal, but can certainly be served in a casual setting.
Ingredients that must be “chipped in” include: white fish (cod, halibut, pollock), shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp) and mollusks (oysters, clams, mussels) Some recipes I’ve seen included 5-6 different types of seafood. But, I’m a less is more kind of girl, so 1 item from each group for me.
Any variety is acceptable. Just buy the freshest seafood you can find.
The wine you select is important.
Use a light red like a Rioja or Pinot Noir. The wine produces brilliant color and intense depth of flavor. Choose a wine you would drink. You don’t want to ruin your high-quality seafood with lousy wine.
The lesson learned here: When an opportunity presents itself over and over, take it as a sign from above! Something delicious is bound to come out of it.
My Seafood Cioppino Recipe, is a culmination of what I considered the highlights in several different recipes I found. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- Olive Oil
- Large Fennel Bulb
- Large Onion
- Garlic Cloves
- Tomato Paste
- Dried Tarragon, or fresh tarragon
- Fresh Thyme
- Saffron, large
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Bay leaf
- Wine – Pick a light red or a white.
- Diced Tomatoes
- Seafood Stock
- Little Neck Clams or mussels
- Firm White Fish
- Large Raw Shrimp – peeled
- Lemon Wedges
See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make Seafood Cioppino. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does cioppino mean in Italian?
Cioppino is not technically Italian. It is a fish stew that is originally based out of San Francisco. It is a classic Italian-American dish.
What is Seafood Cioppino?
This seafood stew is traditionally made with the fisherman’s catch of the day, and since it started in San Francisco that catch of the day was generally crab, clams, shrimp, scallops and fish.
How long does this keep in the fridge?
You can keep this in an air-tight container for up to 4 days in your fridge. A note to consider is that seafood that is warmed up for the second time can sometimes have a rubbery texture.
You can freeze cioppino for up to 3 months, then thaw at room temperature and gently rewarm.
Other Fabulous Seafood Recipes
- Shrimp Scampi Greek Pasta
- Cajun Hot Shrimp Dip (with Cream Cheese)
- Easy Jambalaya
- Tom Yum Soup (Hot and Sour Soup)
- Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta in Vodka Sauce
- Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Slaw
- One Pot Shrimp Black Bean Rice Skillet
- Cooking Fish 101 (How to Cook Fish Perfectly)
Seafood Cioppino Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon or 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 pinch saffron, large
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups wine (a fruity red or dry white)
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 32 ounces seafood stock
- 1 1/2 pounds little neck clams or mussels
- 1 pound firm white fish
- 1 pound large raw shrimp peeled
- 1-2 tablespoons flour
- Lemon wedges and chopped parsley for garnishing
- Prepare the fennel: Cut off the stalks. You can use the fronds later in the week. (Think salads, sauces, mixed with goat cheese, sprinkled over fruit...) Then halve the bulb and remove the core. Slice the bulb thin. You may want to quarter the bulb for smaller slices.
- Place a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon oil to the pot. Sauté the fennel and onions for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and tomato paste.
- Sauté one more minute. Then add the tarragon, thyme, saffron, red pepper, bay, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour in the wine, stock, and tomatoes. Bring the stew to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the fish into 1-inch cubes and toss the fish and shrimp in flour. Rinse and check all mollusks for freshness. They should all be completely closed. If they are open, squeeze them shut. If they don’t instantly close up again, THROW THEM OUT. Any open or cracked mollusk should not go in the cioppino.
- Once the stew has simmered for 30+ minutes, add the mollusks. Stir and allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes until they are mostly opened. Next add the fish and shrimp. Stir well and simmer another 3-5 minutes. The broth should thicken and all the mollusks should open wide.
- Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and any unopened mollusks. Garnish the cioppino with parsley and lemon wedges. Then serve with lots of warm crusty sourdough bread or parmesan toast.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!