Happy 1st day of November! AKA detox day for me and dreaming about a bowl of lettuce with a wedge of lemon. I’ve just spent the last 48 hours celebrating my birthday, eating, more eating and realizing I just turned a year older. Perks of a Halloween birthday, sweets, candy, and birthday cake and food. Good times.
I was really hoping to post this as my ‘birthday recipe’, since I am pretty nontraditional in that sense. You won’t see me posting a birthday cake on here, but you will see me share a pumpkin souffle (hello last year). However, I thought sticking a birthday candle in the a clam wouldn’t go over with most. So day after Halloween/detox day Cioppino it is.
The beautiful thing about cioppino is that it is really a stew, meaning you can add whatever your little heart desires, or whatever you have on hand. A lot of times, we’ll buy extra few ounces of whatever seafood we get at the time and save the leftover “scraps” and pieces for stews like this. Then every month or so, Joe and I will do a deep cleaning of the freezer. I get on my hands and knees and sort everything we have. It’s amazing to see how much 2 people can hoard in the freezer. But the end result is pretty awesome. If we have leftover chicken parts, we’ll roast them and make enchiladas. Leftover seafood, goes into cioppino or seafood stock and things like ground meat are perfect for bolognese. Just a few ideas. And if you’re wondering how I celebrated my birthday (do you follow me on Instagram…sure ya do!), well I celebrated like any Halloween Jewish girl should…watching the The Shining on the big screen and then topping it off Jew-style with a pastrami on rye and my birthday drink of choice, Dr Browns!
Birthday dinner of choice…dr Browns and pastrami on rye. A photo posted by Samantha (@ferrarokitchen) on
- 1 fennel bulb sliced thin
- 1 yellow onion sliced thin
- 1 shallot chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- Pinch of saffron
- Few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped
- Few sprigs of fresh oregano leaves removed and chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tb tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine whatever is your favorite
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28 oz can whole or chopped plum tomatoes I love using San Marzano
- 5-6 cups seafood stock
- 1-2 cups water
- Olive oil for sauteing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound mussels
- 1/2 pound clams
- Large prawns 1-2 per person
- 1 pound of fish we used salmon and cod, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- Lobster tail 1/2 per person
- Chopped parsley for garnish
First clean the fish and shell fish. Place mussels and clams in a large bowl of cold water and let them sit for 20-30 minutes. Use a brush (like a potato brush) to scrub the shells and pull the beards out of the mussels. (You can see how I did that in this recipe). Let them soak so all the sand falls to the bottom and you're ready to cook them.
Next get a large pot or dutch oven and drizzle olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot. On medium heat, add the fennel and onion and cook until lightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes.
Then add the shallots and garlic and cook for another minute or two, or until garlic lightly caramelizes. Next add the tomato paste, pinch of saffron and red pepper flakes and use a spatula to break down the tomato paste and saffron. Add the white wine and cook until alcohol evaporates the you're left with a condensed sauce.
After wine cooks, add the tomatoes. If you're using whole tomatoes, use your hands to break them up (carefully not getting juice everywhere like I have) and add your seafood stock and bay leaves. Bring to a gentle boil and allow soup to cook for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.
When adding fish, take note to add things that take longer to cook first. So we added the salmon and cod first, allowed that to cook for about 4 minutes (depending on how large the pieces are), then added the shrimp and lobster and cooked for 4-5 minutes and finally the mussels and clams and continues to cook until the shells open.
For the mussels and clams, gently pick them up with your hands and don't pour the soaking water over them, since that will add the sand right back in. Any mussels or clams that don't open should be thrown away too.
To serve, remove bay leaves and serve with chopped parsley and toasted bread.