Cioppino: A Fine Kettle of Fish
From Rachael: “I am half Sicilian and so a large part of the family does “The Feast of Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve. I do not have the patience to make seven dishes. I make this instead – it uses five varieties of seafood, all in one pot. Now that’s a happy holiday!”
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2-3 anchovy fillets, drained
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup good-quality dry white wine
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock (14 ounces)
- 1 can chunky-style crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped (about 1 tablespoon)
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 8 large shrimp, ask for deveined easy-peel shrimp at the seafood counter
- 8 sea scallops
- 16-20 mussels, scrubbed
- A loaf of fresh, crusty bread, for mopping
In a large pot over moderate heat combine the EVOO, about four turns around the pan, crushed red pepper, anchovies, garlic and bay leaf. Let the anchovies melt into the EVOO. The anchovies act as a natural salt, while the pepper flakes will infuse the EVOO, providing heat.
Chop the celery and onion near the stove and add to the pot as you work. Sauté the vegetables for a few minutes to soften them, then add the wine to the pot. Reduce the wine a minute, then add the chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme and parsley. Bring the sauce to a bubble and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Season the fish chunks with salt and pepper. Add the fish and simmer for five minutes, giving the pot a shake now and then. Do not stir your soup with a spoon after the addition of the fish or you will break it up. Add the shrimp, scallops, and mussels and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, giving the pot a good shake now and again.
Remove the lid and discard any mussels that do not open. Carefully ladle the stew into shallow bowls and pass the bread at the table.