It was Singer’s inaugural dinner on Wednesday.
All we could say was yum.
She made the most amazing Cioppino. What, you ask?
Cioppino is a fish stew that is a signature dish in San Francisco. Whatscookingamerica.com explains that “fish stew first became popular on the docks of San Francisco in the 1930s. Cioppino is thought to be the result of each Italian immigrant fisherman adding something from their day's catch to the communal stew kettle on the wharf. Many historians believe that the name is the adaptation of Italian fishermen yelling for all to "chip in." It is also believed that the name comes from a Genoese fish stew called cioppin.” The first explanation makes for a better story so that’s the one I’ll choose to believe and promulgate.
Whatever the origin of the name, this blend of different kinds of fish, vegetables, and herbs is simply delicious and relatively easy to make. And as with any stew, you can throw something in you like and leave something out you don’t. The dish is typically served with toasted bread or baguette and of course, your favorite wine.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian
2 tbs of Olive Oil
1 Large fennel bulb, chopped finely
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tsp salt
4 large cloves of Garlic finely chopped
3/4 tsp of dried crushed pepper flakes, plus more to taste ( I tend to go for it)
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cup of wine
2 8 ounce jars of clam juice
1 cup of water
1 bay leaf
Chopped parsley and basil to garnish
1 pd of little neck or manilla clams
1 pd of mussels
3/4 pound of shrimp
3/4 pound of scallops ( cut large in half)
1 1/2 pound of firm fleshed fish (halibut, monk, tilapia)
Heat the oil in a very large pop over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion and salt and saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and saute for two minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, wine, clam juice and water, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes. When finished use an immersion blender to puree slightly. Note: This sauce can be made in advance and reheated when ready to serve.
Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until they open. Add the shrimp, fish and scallops until just cooked and clams are open, stirring gently about 5 minutes longer. Season to taste, with more salt and red pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and basil.
"The trick to this dish is to be careful not to overcook the shellfish -- otherwise, it will become rubbery." -- Giada De Laurentiis
Serve with garlic/olive oil bread: Broil sliced Italian Bread on one side and then brush with Olive oil, crushed garlic, and kosher salt and broil till bubbly and brown.
The Italian fishermen would be proud.
We also had a Caesar salad served in the lovely traveling salad bowl and we opened three bottles of wine. Three is a first for us. Mercifully, we did not finish the third.
Later we watched the Phillies tie the Braves in the 9th inning and go on to win the game in the 13th inning, breaking a Club all-time win record with 102 wins for the season! They did it for Charlie.