Cioppino Recipe {Fisherman Stew} (2024)

4.76 from 112 votes

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You can’t visit San Francisco and not sample the Cioppino Stew. It’s a classic dish created by the San Francisco Italian fishermen of North Beach in the late 1800s using the seafood that was left over from the day’s catch.

But if you can’t travel to San Francisco, my Cioppino Stew is the next best thing to being there!

Cioppino comes from the Ligurian dialect of Italy, coming from the word “ciuppin”. The literal translation meanschopped and torn to pieces. But in the culinary world, it translates into delicious seafood stew….sigh

Cioppino Recipe {Fisherman Stew} (1)

You’ll find versions of my Cioppino Recipe with less seafood and others with squid, but this dish’s main ingredients are shellfish. Anything else that finds its way into the pot is a bonus!

If you like seafood stews, you’re going to love my Spanish Seafood Stew!

Table of Contents:

What ingredients do I need to make Cioppino?

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Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make San Francisco Style Cioppino. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.

Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.

Over the years, I’ve worked and dined at restaurants with Cioppino on their menu, but it was rarely the real thing, being more of a Fugazi-style representation of the dish. The big difference between the Italian-style Cioppino recipe and a San Franciscan Style Cioppino recipe is how the sauce is made.

Made with simple ingredients

  • olive oil
  • fennel bulb
  • sweet onion
  • shallots
  • garlic
  • sea salt
  • tomato paste
  • whole plum tomatoes
  • dry white or red wine
  • chicken stock
  • small clams
  • mussels
  • shrimp
  • sea scallops
  • Dungeness crabs
  • fish
  • bay leaf
  • red pepper flakes

Do I have to use Dungeness Crab to make Cioppino?

No, you don’t need to use Dungeness in your cioppino recipe but don’t be scared off by the Dungeness crab. You can actually find them at some of the big box stores, frozen, already cleaned, and ready to go.

Of course, you can use blue crab, king crab, or leave the crab out altogether.

How tomake Cioppino

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Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or sauteuse (deep skillet) over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt. Saute the vegetables until the onion becomes translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.

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Add the tomato paste, plum tomatoes, and all juices, wine, chicken stock, and bay leaf.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and allow to cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.

(you can use crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes in juice and fish stock instead of chicken stock)

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While the sauce is simmering, using another saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sear the shrimp, scallops (and fish pieces if used) on both sides, but do not fully cook the seafood.

Remove the seafood from the pan and place it on aplate until needed.

*If you did use the fish pieces, you can add them to the sauce now. (do not add the shrimp or scallops at this time)

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In the same pan you used for the fresh seafood, add a little more olive oil, then add the clams and mussels. Cover and cook them until they open up.

*If any of the mussels or clams are openbefore cooking,discard them. They’re dead and aren’t safe for consumption.

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At about the 45-minute mark of simmering the sauce, add in the crabs, and the mussels and clams with all the pan juices. Continue to simmer.

Five minutes before you’re ready to serve the Cioppino, add the shrimp and scallops to the sauce and let them finish cooking for five minutes.

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Risotto, rice, or pasta are usually served with cioppino. You want a plain version of those accompaniments, so they complement the sauce and don’t fight with the flavors. This seafood stew also goes well with a tossed salad and of course, crusty bread to dip in the sauce.

If you’ve never thought of making Cioppino, I urge you to try this recipe. It may contain many ingredients, but it is a very simple dish that Italian Americans have enjoyed for years, and I promise you’ll have one delicious dinner on your table that will impress your family or friends.

More Seafood Recipes You’ll Love!

  • Spanish Seafood Stew Recipe
  • Seafood Combo Foil Packet Recipe
  • Seafood Marinara with Pasta Recipe
  • Sicilian Style Seafood with Pasta and Eggplant

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Cioppino Recipe {Fisherman Stew} (13)

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4.76 from 112 votes

San Francisco Cioppino

Cioppino is a classic San Francisco seafood dishthat will make you look like a superstar in the kitchen. The rich red sauce is a perfect compliment to the seafood and although it takes a little while to cook, it’s a delicious restaurant-style dish that you can serve in your own home.

Prep Time15 minutes mins

Cook Time1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Total Time1 hour hr 25 minutes mins

Course: Entree

Cuisine: Italian – American

Servings: 3

Calories: 744kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced (core removed)
  • 1 large sweet onion chopped
  • 3 large shallots chopped
  • 4 cloves large garlic sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 26 ounce can of whole plum tomatoes crushed by hand
  • 2 cups dry white or red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 dozen small clams scrubbed
  • 1 dozen mussels scrubbed
  • 9 16-20 count shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 9 large sea scallops
  • 3 crabs- dungeness preferred (snow crab, blue claw, or Stone Crab Claws)
  • ½ pound of firm fish cut into 3 pieces optional
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more if you like it spicy

US CustomaryMetric

Instructions

  • Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet or ductch oven over medium heat.

  • Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt. Saute until the onion becomes translucent about 5-7 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and continue to saute for 2 minutes.

  • Add the tomato paste, plum tomatoes and all juices, wine, chicken stock, and bay leaf.

  • Bring the sauce to a light boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and allow to cook for one hour, stirring occasionally

  • While the sauce is simmering using another saute pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sear the shrimp, scallops (and fish pieces if used) on both sides, making sure not to fully cook them (about half way is fine)

  • Remove the seafood from the pan and place it on aplate until needed. If you did use the fish pieces you can add them to the sauce now.

    *do not add the shrimp or scallops at this time

  • In the same pan add a little more oil, the clams and mussels. Cover and steam them until they open.

    *If any of the mussels or clams are open before cooking discard them, they're dead and aren't safe for consumption.

  • At about the 45-minute mark of simmering the sauce, add in the crabs, mussels and clams with all the pan juices. Continue to simmer.

  • If you are serving your Choppino over pasta you may begin getting the water ready at this time.

  • With five minutes of cooking time remaining, add in the shrimp and scallops.

  • Taste the sauce and re-season as needed.

  • If you cooked pasta serve over pasta. If not, enjoy this delicious stew with a loaf of crusty bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 744kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 3213mg | Potassium: 2589mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1115IU | Vitamin C: 52.5mg | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 7.1mg

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Cioppino Recipe {Fisherman Stew} (2024)
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