Welcome, all readers old and new to today’s column. After creating cioppino last weekend, I am sharing three different cioppino recipes: an original recipe from Mrs. Pesavento, always an excellent source for flavorful food; a recipe from a food advertisement; and an easy, quick one we made.
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Mrs. Pesavento’s cioppino — Prep time is 15 minutes, total cook time is 45 minutes. Serves six to eight.
Ingredients: 4 to 6 ounces fish and shellfish for each serving — total 2 pounds for six servings and 4 pounds for eight servings, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce, 1 1 pound 13 ounce can tomatoes, 2 cups red table wine, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon each pepper, oregano and basil and 1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley chopped.
Preparation: Heat olive oil, add next 11 ingredients and 1/2 cup parsley; simmer for 15 minutes. Add fish and shellfish, except for clams. Then simmer over low heat or bake in a slow oven, 300 degrees, for 30 minutes. Now add the clams and as soon as they open up sprinkle with rest of the chopped parsley. Serve with lots of hot garlic bread.
Food advertisement recipe — Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 1 hour. Makes two generous servings.
Ingredients: Seafood, pick from among the following fish and seafood selections, 8 ounces white fish, plus 8 ounces of one or a combination of any of the following selections: mussels, clams, crab, scallops, shrimp, 2 cups fennel bulbs julienne cut, 2 cups diced yellow onions, 1 cup chopped Italian parsley (easily available in the produce section of the supermarket), 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 1 cup red wine, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 3 cups stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, salt and pepper.
Preparation: Sauté fennel and onions for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add all herbs and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add red wine and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and water and simmer for 45 minutes. Add seafood, cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the clams and muscles open. Add remaining parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Easy cioppino — Buy a jar of cioppino sauce at the market when purchasing fish, shellfish, and any vegetables to feature. Add additional flavor with chopped Italian parsley and chopped basil.
Firehouse Fish Stew — A close cousin to cioppino this recipe serves eight firemen.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup salad oil, 3 large onions chopped, 3-4 large cloves garlic minced, 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, 3/4 cups chopped parsley, 2 quarts chicken or fish broth and 1/2 cup dry white wine, 2 cans (6 ounces) tomato paste, 3 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons dry basil, and 4 pounds whitefish and shellfish.
Preparation: Cook onions in oil over medium heat, stirring until onions are limp, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, parsley and cook until garlic and tomatoes are soft, 5-8 minutes. Stir in broth/wine, tomato paste, bay leaves and basil. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn heat to high, add whitefish and shellfish, except for clams. Add prawns, cook for 10-15 minutes. Five minutes later, add clams and dungeness crab, cook for the remaining 10 minutes.