The first time I had cioppino was on a family vacation in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, about two years ago. It will forever be one of those memorable meals that seem to capture the vibe on an entire trip. Fresh local seafood, open bottles of excellent wine, warm bread, and a group of people battling each other over the last slurps of the tomato broth. Cioppino is essentially a tomato fish stew, similar to bouillabaisse but with a heartier broth. You really can’t get this dish wrong if you make an effort to buy local fresh fish. Luckily, living near the coast means you don’t have to search to hard to find it. In Newburyport, David’s fish market in Salisbury is right over the bridge and fantastic. Don’t be afraid to ask the guys behind the counter for help with selecting your seafood. I purchased my seafood at Steve Connolly’s in Gloucester for this particular dinner.
I found this recipe online and it is incredibly simple. The entire meal was prepped, sautéed, and in the pot within a half hour. This dish is perfect on a busy weekend but also ideal to impress your dinner guests. Give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it!
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 lb mussels
3/4 lb cod
1/2 lb scallops
1/2 medium shrimp
1/2 cup loosely packed parlsey, chopped
French bread, sliced
1 clove of garlic for bread
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and a pinch of salt until softened, roughly 2 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, oregano and cook briefly, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and stir. When tomatoes have warmed, crush them with the back of a wooden spoon (wear an apron, this can get messy). Add red wine and turn down heat, simmer until sauce thickens, about ten minutes.
Add seafood and cover pot. While seafood cooks, rub butter on french bread slices and heat under the broiler. Do not get lost in conversation and burn your bread (like I did). When bread slices have browned, removed from oven and rub with garlic clove sliced in half.
The dish is done when the mussels have opened. Break up cod. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon dish into large bowl and garnish with parsley. Place 3-4 french bread slices into the broth, lining the sides of the bowl.
Pour a big glass of wine and enjoy.