Cioppino or Zuppa di Pesce, the ultimate Italian seafood soup made with the freshest fish and shellfish, cooked in a san Marzano tomato broth and served with classic bruschetta.
We finally put away the dirty dishes after Christmas, and I had time to sit down and type my Cioppino Recipe, or Zuppa Di Pesce I’ve been telling you about. You still have time to make it before the year is over! Come to think of it we should really treat ourselves to this more than just at Christmas time….
What’s really nice around the holidays is that you can find everything at the market that you can imagine: green shell mussels, crab, lobsters, the squid tentacles (calamari) that I must have because they are so tender and look really extra cool in my pot.
So what the heck is a Cioppino you ask ?
Cioppino or Zuppa Di Pesce is a rustic seafood soup actually created in San Francisco, that consists of seafood cooked in a tomato broth with lots of herbs and garlic.
I’m sure that every family has their own variation of this zuppa di pesce that includes their favorite sea creatures. It can be salmon and swordfish or your favorite shellfish.
So this is just a guide, an inspiration for you to create your own cioppino recipe to suit your family’s taste.
There are two secrets to a perfect Cioppino or Zuppa di Pesce recipe:
1. Buy the best freshest seafood you can find!
2. Cook your cioppino the night before, and allow all the different flavors to marry in the tomato broth overnight.
The one thing we must have at our table is a thick crusty piece of bruschetta, grilled to perfection and infused with garlic flavor to mop all the juices from your bowls. Who can resist? Cioppino Time Kids!
- 1 onion -diced
- 6 cloves garlic -minced
- 1 red bell pepper -diced
- 1 large leek -halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot -diced
- 1 celery stalk -diced
- 1 parsnip -diced
- 2 oz x 15 cans San Marzano tomatoes -diced
- 1 oz x 15 can San Marzano tomatoes -crushed
- 2 anchovies
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 c dry white wine
- 2 leaves bay
- 2 tbsp oregano -dry
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 2 -3 qt seafood stock or chicken stock or water
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 lbs jumbo shrimp -cleaned & peeled with tails on
- 1 lb black mussels
- 1 lb green shell mussels
- 1 lb baby manila clams
- 1 lb squid tentacles
- 4 oz x 8 lobster tails -optional
- 20 basil laves -torn or thinly sliced
- the juice from 2 lemons
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 1/2 c Italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
In a very large cast iron pot heat up the olive oil and saute the onion and leeks with a pinch of sea salt until translucent. Add the anchovies, carrot, celery, parsnip and bell peppers and saute together until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Add the bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes and deglaze the pot with the white wine making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. Allow it to simmer until reduced by half.
Add the canned tomatoes to the pot together with the stock and bring to a simmer. Partially cover with a lid and let it simmer away on very low flame for 30 minutes.
Add all the clams and mussels to the pot together with the lobster tails and simmer uncovered for about 10 to 12 minutes until all the clams and mussels have opened and the lobster shells have turned bright red. Discard any clams/mussels that haven’t opened
About 5 minutes after adding the clams, mussels and lobster also add the shrimp and squid tentacles so they will all be ready at the same time. The shrimp will turn pink and curl up.
Adjust seasonings, stir in the fresh basil and lemon juice, then cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to marry.
Reheat before serving and char a few thick slices of crusty bread, rub them with garlic and brush with olive oil to mop all the cioppino juices from your bowl. Serve with the lemon juice and fresh parsley on top.