Luckily I live where I can get the freshest seafood available and when I make cioppino the “fish” ingredients vary according to what is available, clams, shrimp and scallops being the constants. When I saw the “Think Orange” tag for I Heart Cooking Clubs and combining it with an Ellie Krieger recipe I immediately thought of cioppino as she has an easy recipe that would be great for a quick dinner or dinner party.
As usual one can make adaptations to the recipe and mine were adding fennel, a small leek, 1/2 shallot, 1 jalapeño pepper, My additions of orange/clementine zest and juice, and the saffron for a tinge of orange color. For a bit of smokiness I tossed in a can of fire roasted tomatoes…feel free to add crab meat, (a dollop when served is perfect or crab leg pieces), any mild fish that you like, and mussels. The broth will be further enhanced with each fish added to the pot…careful with the salt.
You can make a lot of cioppino or just for two, but having the broth base is a handy thing to have stashed in the freezer for last-minute quick dinners so think about making enough broth for 8 to start with (sans the seafood), thaw and reheat on the night you use and simply add your seafood according to each items cooking time. Serve cioppino piping hot with garlic bread or a warm crusty rustic loaf of bread. If you do add crab leg pieces have crab crackers available along with lots of napkins or warmed towels.
To serve ladle the seafood into bowls and then add the broth, grate a little orange zest and fresh chopped parsley over each serving. Or family style in a tureen and with a ladle for each guest to scoop out their seafood choices.
Adapted version of Ellie Krieger’s Cioppino
adapted from The Washington Post – Link to Ellie’s below my adapted recipe
INGREDIENTS – yes a lengthy list, but prep early and it all can be finished and served in less than an hour
For the Broth:
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 leek, white and light green parts, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 fennel bulb, halved again and thinly sliced
3 small orange and red baby peppers thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño minced
1 rib of celery, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 small carrot, grated
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
zest of 1 clementine orange and the juice of 2 clementines
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 small fresh bay leaves
pinches of red pepper flakes
*optional pinches of seafood seasoning
*optional sausage seasoning or fennel dust
salt & pepper
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups homemade or no-salt-added fish stock (shrimp stock or clam juice. I used both)
*1 cup Zing Zang’s Bloody Mary Mix…more to thin both if you like a thinner broth and a my note is to steam the clams open in a pan using the Zing Zang’s
Sauté all of the vegetables in the olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, stir in the tomato paste and deglaze with white wine. Add all of the canned tomatoes and juices, pinches of red pepper flakes and seasonings.
Simmer for about 20-30 minutes and taste. Add the seafood according to their individual cooking times as in the shrimp takes a minute or so in piping hot broth, crab legs will take about 5 minutes to heat through, a piece of 1 inch thick fish might take 4-5 minutes, and clams take about 3 minutes so with that in mind, I suggest steaming the clams in another small pan in some of the broth some of the broth while the fish is heating in the pot…
*Optional lump crab meat to place into each bowl
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or fennel fronds or caramelized fennel for garnish