The Dish | Cioppino

With the commercial crab season hopefully opening up any day now, this San Francisco specialty is easy to make and makes for a delicious, cozy winter meal. Traditionally this fish stew is made up of the fisherman’s catch of the day so feel free to substitute or add whatever fish is available. Diced firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut, cod, salmon, or squid are equally good options.  The garlic toasts are a must to soak up the broth.


  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2 inch dice) fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 5 cups seafood stock
  • 1 ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb scallops, halved crosswise
  • 1 lb of mussels scrubbed
  • 1 lb of Dungeness crab meat
  • 1 1b of manila clams, scrubbed
  • 3 tbs of minced fresh parsley
  • Garlic Toasts (directions to follow)


  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion and shallots and sauté for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for an additional minute to caramelize. 
  • Add the wine, tomatoes, stock, bay leaf and 1 T of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. When done simmering add the juice of a lemon.
  • Right before serving add the mussels and clams and cover the pot for 5 minutes. Add shrimp, and scallops and simmer an additional five minutes. Add the crab meat. Try not to stir too much.
  • Discard any closed clams or mussels. Ladle into large shallow bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot with garlic toasts.

Garlic Toasts:

  • 1 loaf of country levain, sliced thick and halved.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic clove

Turn on broiler. Slice bread and lay slices in one layer on sheet pan, brush each with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Carefully watch the bread toast on each side and then flip to toast the other side. Rub warm toasts with a cut side of a garlic clove.

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