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.
Zuppa di Pesce
The recipe will naturally change with the seafood available in the area. Frutti di Mare, aka shellfish like green shell mussels, crab, lobster, scallops and shrimp, or meatier fish like salmon, swordfish or squid tentacles aka calamari.
- Keep it Fresh – Buy the freshest seafood you can find, it’s worth every penny.
- Plan in Advance – Make the soup the night before to allow all the different flavors to marry in the tomato broth overnight.
- Storage – refrigerate in the pot you cooked it in for up to 4 days and reheat on the stove top over medium low heat until steaming hot. It is not recommend for this soup to be frozen as you’ll end up with tough seafood upon reheating.
- Fra Diavolo – if you like things spicy don’t be shy with the chili flakes.
Fish soup is traditionally served with bruschetta which is grilled bread rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil. A fresh chunk of crusty bread is always nice, focaccia never disappoints and they all make a perfect vehicle to mop up any juices from the bottom of the bowl, “ farro la scarpeta” as the Italian saying goes. Mangia bene!
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How to make the best Cioppino from scratch:
Cioppino Recipe or Zuppa Di Pesce
- 1 onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced 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 x 15 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes diced
- 15 oz can San Marzano tomatoes crushed
- 2 anchovies
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 leaves bay
- 2 tbsp dry oregano
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 -3 qt seafood stock (veggie broth or water)
- 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 lobster tails (optional)
- 20 basil leaves (torn or thinly sliced)
- the juice from 2 lemons
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 1/2 c Italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 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.
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