Cioppino – Christmas Eve 2013

Judith’s Dungeness  Crab Cioppino Contributed by Michael Mina
  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 10
  1. 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 8 large garlic cloves—6 finely chopped, 2 whole
  3. 3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  4. 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  5. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 fennel bulb diced*
  7. 2 anchovy fillets*
  8. 1 large bay leaf
  9. 6 or so basil leaves
  10. Saffron
  11. Fennel salt or seed pinches
  12. Pinches of seafood seasoning*
  13. 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I had plenty of roasted tomatoes and didn’t want a thicker broth)
  14. 1/2 cup dry red wine and 1/2 cup white wine
  15. One 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped or (whisk briefly with a stick blender) * (2 lbs. freshly roasted tomatoes)
  16. 2 cups homemade lobster stock
  17. 3-4-8 ounce bottles clam broth
  18. 1-1/2 cups* Shrimp Crazy Water broth…see shrimp category
  19. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  20. 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  21. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  22. 4 steamed Dungeness crabs, about 2 pounds each (see Note)
  23. 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  24. 1-2 pounds firm, white-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut, skinned and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks * grouper and scallops
  25. 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined * I added 3 lbs.
  26. 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  27. 1 pound sea scallops, halved vertically if large
  28. Crusty bread, for serving
  29. Sam’s basil Pesto for garnish
  1. In a very large soup pot, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped garlic, anchovies, jalapeños, bell peppers, onion and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute longer.  Add the clam broth, shrimp, lobster broth, season lightly with salt and generously with pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to about 8 cups, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, combine the basil leaves with the whole garlic and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and the crushed red pepper and process the basil puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Working over the sink, pull off the flap on the undersides of the crabs. Remove the top shells and discard. Pry out the brownish insides and pull off the feathery lungs and discard. Rinse the crab bodies in cold water and quarter them so that each piece has body and leg.
  4. Add the crabs and clams to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the clams begin to open, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the crabs to a large platter. Add the fish, shrimp, mussels and scallops to the pot, pushing them into the broth. Return the crabs to the pot, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams and mussels are fully open and the fish, shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 8 minutes longer.
  5. Ladle the cioppino into deep bowls and drizzle each serving with some of the basil puree. Serve with crusty bread and pass the remaining basil puree separately.
Make Ahead The Dungeness crab cioppino can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Notes Have the fishmonger steam the crabs for you.
Add other types of fish according to cooking times and I steamed the clams in a large sauté pan and added some to each bowl before pouring over the other fish and broth.
***** 2 cups shrimp in crazy water broth*****  I had previously made Mario Batali’s Shrimp in Crazy water and saved the broth, stored it in the freezer, and stained it into the soup.  The original recipe calls for water and I would rather add another broth or stock than do that!

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