Cioppino (Seafood Stew)

Classic Seafood Cioppino

Mark wanted to make me something special for my birthday this weekend,  so I chose Cioppino. A hearty Italian seafood tomato based soup, Cioppino can include a variety of ingredients. We chose lobster, shrimp, scallops and clams.

If you prefer, you can also add crab meat, mussels, squid, any kind of fish such as halibut, sea bass or salmon,  the possibilities are endless. To keep it authentic, keep the shellfish in the shells. The traditional fish stew is said to have been derived by the Italian fishermen in San Francisco in the 1800's. The name comes from ciuppin, a word meaning "to chop" or "chopped" which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the days catch.
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 (32-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 lb Dungeness crab, whole
12 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 pound) such as littlenecks, scrubbed
½ lb skinless red snapper or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb large shrimp (16 to 20), tails and bottom segment of shells left intact and deveined
1/2 lb sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While stew is simmering, hack crab pieces through shell into 2- to 3-inch pieces with a large heavy knife. Add crab pieces, lobster and clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open, 5 to 10 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.) Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.

Serve Cioppino hot in large soup bowls with fresh sourdough bread.

Note: You might want to cover your clothing with a large napkin or bib, this can get messy!


  1. What a delicious cioppino! I love that it is versatile and you can add your own favorites.

  2. I've never tried Cioppino but by the looks of yours I know it's a stew I would love.

  3. I haven't had cioppino in ages...this looks so good! I like your choice of seafood here. This looks like a perfect birthday meal!

  4. i never tried it but seems nice:)

    Are you aware of the game ? i tagged you , come and join us:)

  5. I have never tried this, but it's I'm bound to love it !!!


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