Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paleo Lent- Week #6: Meet me in San Francisco!

Lombard Hill, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Warf…

This Wednesday we’re escaping to the beautiful San Francisco… and the deliciousness of CIOPPINO: A seafood stew!

This is truly the "Soul" food of the San Francisco waterfront and probably one of my favorite dishes. There are thousands of ways to make this stew but all of them take a bunch of seafood, great spices, rich tomatoes, and bold dry wine resulting in the most flavorful and messy to eat stew that ever was! So make some for your family and friends, but remember to serve with plenty of napkins and maybe even a bib and a plastic tablecloth!

The name comes from ciuppin, meaning "to chop" or "chopped" which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers from the day's catch. Although the eponymous Cioppino's in San Francisco tells a far better story of the broken English cries begging for the men to donate a small piece of their catch for the communal stew begin prepared on the famous Fisherman's Wharf back in the day… "chip in"… “chip in”  turned into "chip-in-O" or "Cioppino!" A few clams or crabs, a couple handfuls of shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, some red snapper, halibut or flounder. Once the stew was prepared, the "Club" of San Francisco fisherman would gather round and talk about the days catch and dunk San Francisco Sour Dough bread into the rich broth. There was no care as to how the stew is assembled. It consisted of throwing the days catch into a big pot and pouring a tomato sauce on top, and then leaving all these flavors meld and enhance each other for awhile. 

 “Chip-In-O” Seafood Stew

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, pinot noir, shiraz)
  • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (reserve juice)
  • 2 cups seafood broth (can substitute chicken broth)
  • 1  one pound king crab leg, thawed
  • 1 1/2 pound (about 18) small hard-shelled clams scrubbed --- such as littlenecks
  • 1 pound skinless red snapper or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1.      Sauté garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, (about 5 minutes)
2.      Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste stir for 1 minute.
3.      Add wine and boil until reduced by about half (5 to 6 minutes)
4.      Add tomatoes with their juice and broth then simmer covered (30 minutes)
5.      While stew is simmering, hack crab leg through shell into 2- to 3-inch pieces with a large heavy knife.
6.      Add crab pieces and clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open (5 to 10 minutes)
7.      Check every minute after 5 minutes and transfer opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes)
8.      Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through (about 5 minutes)
9.      Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.
10.  Serve Cioppino immediately in large soup bowls.

The stew — without seafood — can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered. Bring to a simmer before adding seafood.


  1. This looks amazing! We're heading to Cali for about eighteen weddings this summer and will be making a stop in San Fran. I'm quite excited because I've never liked seafood, but I've been more adventurous lately and have promised myself to try lots of new seafoody stuff all summer long. (I'm riding high on my delicious scallop lunch today - my first!) Also, I saw that double yolker on your "What I'm Eating" page and I'm extremely jealous - I hoped I would find one by now, with all the fresh eggs I've eaten over the last five + years. No luck!

  2. So glad to hear you're trying seafood, it's delicious! Also- that was my second double-yolker!! In the first two months of eating Paleo... it was unreal. They both came from Fairway's organic cage free eggs.

  3. I ADORE THIS STEW! I never make it for myself, because I am just one person and I would make enough to feed a family of 10... but when I go home my father makes it sometimes and boy do I get excited! I especially love sea scallops in it!