This unique blend of herbs & spices is the foundation of the classic Cioppino.
Cioppino is a tomato-based seafood stew that was invented by the San Francisco Italian fishermen of North Beach, San Fransisco in the late 1800s using whatever seafood was left over from the day’s catch. Often times it was crab, shrimp, clams and fish, which were then combined with onions, garlic, and tomatoes and slow cooked with herbs and spices in olive oil and wine.
Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and in Italian homes but as the Italian restaurants started sprouting up around the wharf, Cioppino moved into the restaurant and became a very popular dish.
The origin of the word “cioppino” is something of a mystery, and many historians believe that it is Italian-American for “chip in.” It is also believed that the name comes from a Genoese fish stew called cioppino. See our Cioppino recipe below.
The subtle curry flavours in this spice blend will also enhance soups and casseroles and compliment grilled white fish or chicken. It is the perfect rim for a caesar cocktail as well.
Ingredients: kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, curry spice, coriander, oregano, thyme, basil, red chilli, bay leaf
Ingrédients: sel, poivre noir, cumin, epice de curry, coriandre, origan, thym, basilic, piment rouge, feuille de laurier
Makes 4 portions
splash of olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 roughly chopped onion
1 peeled & roughly chopped carrot
4 roughly chopped stalks of celery
25g All Purpose flour
25g Cioppino Spice Mix
1 tbsp tomato paste
slash of dry white wine
1 can of good quality chopped Italian plum tomatoes
1lt of water
In a heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.
Add the garlic and lightly fry for a couple of minutes
Add all the raw vegetables and cook on a medium heat until they start to soften.
Mix the flour and spice mix together and stir into the vegetables. Stir continuously for several minutes until all the oils have been absorbed and the spice mix coats all the vegetables.
Add in the tomato paste and continue to stir for a further couple of minutes
Add the white wine, tomatoes & water, stirring with a wooden spoon to lift up any residue on the base of the pot.
Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
At this point you have a choice to make, whether you leave your broth chunky or blend it. I prefer to blend & strain the broth to give a more refined finish but rustic is good too.
NOTE: the cioppino may be covered & refrigerated for up to 2 days before using. To use broth that has been refrigerated, reheat to boiling and then reduce heat to low until broth is simmering gently.
So now for the main part of the dish, the seafood. It is entirely up to you on the amount and type of seafood you want to add to the broth, but fresh, local and seasonal is your best bet.
Manilla Clams in shell
Vancouver Island Mussels
Raw extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined**
Fish fillets (halibut, cod, or salmon), cut into bite-size chunks
Dungeness crab meat
Scrub clams and mussels with a small stiff brush under cold running water. Remove beards from mussels. Discard any open clams or mussels.
Gently stir in the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, fish fillets, and crab meat to the prepared stock. Cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams & mussels pop open and shrimp are opaque when cut. NOTE: Do not overcook the seafood (the seafood continues to cook after it is removed from the pan). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and ladle broth and seafood into large soup bowls and serve with freshly baked focaccia bread. Enjoy.