Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cioppino


Cioppino. There is much debate regarding this soup. I don't really care one way or the other if mine is "traditional" because it turned out tasting awesome. I kind of combined a few recipes I found and added a little of my own twist, too.

This recipe is much easier to make because there aren't as many specialty seafood items in it. No crab, no mussels or clams, etc. I got all the seafood in the same section of Trader Joe's. Easy.

Cioppino
(from here and here)

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 sheet nori (dried seaweed)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon hon dashi (instant dashi)
2 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound cod filets, cut into chunks
1 (16oz) bag of mixed seafood (shrimp, scallops, squid) from Trader Joe's (sub 1 lb mixed seafood)
A loaf of French bread to serve

==

I wanted to build a nice umami base to the soup using asian inspired ingredients. I had some nori (dried seaweed) in the pantry and know that it's used in japanese cooking so I decided to use it in this soup. 


Just slice up a sheet.



Heat 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, the crushed sheet of nori and 6 cloves garlic, minced into a large soup pot over medium heat.


Cook until the seaweed starts to break down a bit.


Add your celery, shallot and red bell pepper.

Give everything a stir and cook for about 3 minutes.


Add 1 cup white wine, 1 Tablespoon hon dashi (instant dashi), 2 cups chicken broth, 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes, 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce, and 1 handful flat-leaf parsley.


Add 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 4 sprigs fresh thyme.



This is the seafood blend I found at Trader Joe's.

It's got a lot of squid in it.

I picked through the bag and got all the squid separated and added it to the cioppino at this point. You don't want the shrimp or scallops in too early as they will over cook. The squid can stand to be in a while and adds a nice briny flavor to the soup.

Save the shrimp and scallops in the fridge.




Give everything a stir and bump the heat to high. Once it reaches a boil, drop the heat to med/low and let simmer for about an hour.

...and a bay leaf.


Go ahead and prep your fish while the soup is simmering.

I used cod.


Cut it into cubes and store it int he fridge for now.


==

You can let the soup go for a while on low if you are doing this way ahead of dinner. The longer it sits, the better it is.

When you are about about 15 minutes out of dinner, remove the thyme stems and the bay leaf.

Add the cod. It takes the longest time to cook.


When you are about 7 minutes out, add the scallops and shrimp.

Be gentle when stirring, try not to break up the fish.


Let cook until all the seafood is heated through and the cod is flakey.


Serve with french bread.

Overall this cioppino was fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I have had better at nice restaurants, but this was pretty good.

It was briny and acidic. At the same time sweet and kind of rich. I thought it was a great soup. The bread is a must have for sopping everything up.


Enjoy!

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