And now back to our regular programming...
It's been so long since I had a good seafood meal. Actually, that's not entirely correct. Last week, we had dungeness crabs for dinner. One whole steamed crab for each one of us. It was heavenly!
I've always wanted to try making cioppino, which is an italian seafood stew made with an assortment of the freshest seafood. So off I went to Bill's Lobsters in Chinatown East and bought my ingredients. I googled cioppino recipes, found one that I could use as a launching point, and here's what I came up with.
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 can whole tomatoes in juice
6 cups shrimp stock (or fish stock)
1 lb. halibut fillet, cut into cubes
1 lb. mussels, cleaned
1 lb. headless shrimp, deveined
1/2 lb. sea scallops, cut into fourths (or bay scallops would work too)
1/2 lb. squid, cleaned and cut into rings
1. In a very large pot, heat olive oil and saute onion, shallots and fennel until soft.
2. Add garlic and chili flakes and saute for a couple of minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, stock, salt and fish sauce.
4. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
5. Adjust seasonings, remove bay leaf, then puree with a hand blender.
6. Add mussels and cook until they open.
7. Add the rest of the seafood and simmer gently for about 5 minutes just until everything is tender and opaque. Be careful not to overcook the seafood!
8. Serve with some crusty garlic bread.
We had this last night for dinner. It was perfect with a few glasses of Riesling. We had LOTS of leftovers so we gently reheated them tonight and it was even better! I think the stew develops its flavors over time. Very, very, very good! Definitely one to make again another night, maybe when we have guests :-)