David Prior marries basic Italian cooking principles with typical Californian ingredients in this sensational seafood soup pot.
The ingredient of Cioppino
- 1kg vongole (see note)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2L (8 cups) good-quality fish stock
- 1kg pot-ready mussels (see note)
- 8 x 100g snapper fillets, pin-boned
- 1 pinch saffron (optional)
- 250g fresh cooked crabmeat (see note)
- Toasted sourdough bread, to serve
The instruction how to make Cioppino
- Place the vongole in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 1 hour to remove any grit. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Slice the fennel, reserving the fronds, and add to the pan with fennel seeds, onion, celery, chilli, bay leaf, garlic and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato to the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Add stock and bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming any foam from the surface. Add another pinch of salt, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes until reduced. Strain into a pan, discarding the solids. Keep stock warm over low heat.
- Place 1 cup (250ml) drained stock in a separate pan and bring to the boil over high heat. Add mussels, cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until opened. Remove with a slotted spoon. Bring stock back to the boil and repeat with vongole. Set seafood aside. Discard cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200u00b0C. Line a baking tray with foil and grease. Sprinkle snapper with saffron, if using, and half the fennel fronds. Season, then place on baking tray and drizzle with a little oil. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until just cooked through.
- Spoon the vongole, mussels and crab into warmed bowls. Place a piece of snapper on top and spoon over a little of the warm stock. Top with remaining fennel fronds and serve with sourdough.
Nutritions of Cioppinocalories: