Squeezing out every bit of goodness from our 9-lb. whole salmon, I made a cioppino over the weekend for the first time (pictured below). I used the salmon stock I made a few days before w/ the head, tail, and large bones. I wasn't sure if stock would taste very good w/ salmon as its basis, but the final result was multi-layered, fragrant, and not too oily. Along w/ the fish parts, I used onion, celery, carrots, tomato paste, fennel seed, saffron threads, bay leaf, S&P. Simmered for over an hour and strained, resulting in about 5 qts. of stock.
I wanted to find a recipe true to cioppino's San Francisco origins, but didn't care for some recipes that looked too basic so went w/ a Saveur recipe (linked below) that comes from Hayes St. Grill in SF. I had to omit the Dungeness that's traditionally used since it's no longer in season here. My intent was to use scallops, clams, and salmon, but obstacles thwarted that and left me w/ shrimp, halibut, and salmon in my final version.
I cut the recipe in half. I used all the ingredients called for but added diced celery and tomato paste and fiddled w/ proportions. Most significantly, I used alot more fish stock (about 3x more) since I had it and wanted a more soupy consistency. After simmering, I also blended the stew a bit w/ an immersion blender before straining. I still kept it chunky before straining, but use this blending technique for making bouillabaisse so applied it here. I believe it helps to extrapolate every bit of flavor better.
The final result was really delicious, I must say. Served it w/ garlic sourdough bread. The broth was rich yet not cloying and had a complex orchestra of background notes. The kind of dish that you get at a restaurant and can't quite pinpoint all the ingredients. Hehe, but yours truly was the "chef de cuisine" here, so I was the wiser. The lemon zest was great, and I wondered how orange zest might work. The cayenne gave it just the right kick. The salmon stock worked really well w/ cioppino's assertive and spicy flavors; can't see it being as good for bouillabaisse.
Questions: Even though I was pretty pleased w/ this version, I'm still curious about other recipes. Does anyone have a truly traditional SF-style cioppino recipe that might rival the deliciousness of this one? Is the traditional version supposed to be chunky and not strained? Also, does anyone have a good recipe for a Mexican seafood soup (caldo) since I still have a good amt. of fish stock? Thanks!
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