Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Cioppino!

So, here's the story on Cioppino. Years, I mean years ago, I wanted to start a fun Christmas Eve tradition whereby we would have this wonderful fish stew, Cioppinio on Christmas Eve. Well, I made it and at dinner that night my four year old son said, I hope this doesn't really have to be a tradition! I kid you not he was less than thrilled. So, we went back to the requisite turkey or ham to please him but hey he's friggin' 35 now so I'm having what I want! :-) All kidding aside, our dear son has a very cultivated palate now and would welcome a dish such as this. Back in the day, it was just a very funny moment in time and he was so earnest it was truly enough to break your heart. This dish is so good and wonderful served with some nice crusty bread--you need nothing else except a nice glass of wine :-)

Many thanks to Giada for this recipe: it's a keeper! I made a few tweaks but basically kept to the recipe pretty much.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock- I used Better Than Bouillon Fish base
1 bay leaf
3/4 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound halibut cut into 2-inch chunks


Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the mussels are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

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