2 lbs white fish (White Seabass, Halibut, etc.) boned and cut into cubes
2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 1/2 cups white wine
4 medium sized carrots - diced
6 stalks of celery - diced
1/2 large white onion - diced
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp of chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
My mother in law Judi Strada who is an ex-food critic, an author of multiple cookbooks (Sushi for Dummies) and a phenomenal chef cooked this dish for me, and I developed the recipe. It’s a very simple, but very tasty cioppino, I highly recommend it.
1Begin by chopping the onion, carrot, and celery, then heat the olive oil and add the ingredients by density – start with the carrots sauteeing at low heat them for a 4-5 minutes in a large dutch oven style saucepan, and then adding in the celery and onion. Stir continuously, and once they’ve cooked for a few minutes and the onions are starting to get translucent then add the white wine. When the onions are completely transluscent then add 1 can of whole tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes with a spoon in the pan, and then add the bay leaves. Continue to cook on medium-low heat.
2While this mixture simmers and the tomatoes start to reduce down start to cook the shellfish individually, and add another can of tomatoes and chop with the spoon again. Thoroughly scrub each of the shellfish individually looking for any open ones. If they are open press the shell together, and if the shell doesn’t stick, then discard the shell fish. Cut the back of the shrimp open, and discard the vein in the back. Cook the clams in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of white wine for 5-10 minutes until they open – set aside in a bowl with a bit of tomato and vegetable reduction over it. Similarly cook the mussles until they open.
3Taste each of the liquors of the clams and the mussles testing for taste and grit. Whichever has the best flavor and no grit use the liquor add to the tomatoes and vegetables. Doing this means you will not have to use any additional salt to flavor the cioppino. Combine the clams and mussles to the cioppino, then add the shrimp and cook that for 2-3 minutes, then add the fish and again cook for 2-3 minutes and finally add the scallops. Test the fish to see if thoroughly cooked through. Serve immediately so as not to overcook the fish and scallops.