Cioppino Italian Seafood Stew

, from Issue #39. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Cioppino Italian Seafood Stew

There are no set rules for the line-up of seafood that goes into this dish. The story goes that Italian fishermen returning to the docks in the bay area of San Francisco would be asked to ‘chip in’ some of the day’s catch to make a quick meal, so use whatever’s fresh on the day.

Serves: 4–6


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt
½ cup white wine or beer
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup fish stock
1 x 400 gram tin crushed Italian tomatoes
zest and juice 1 lemon
600 grams firm white fish eg monkfish, hapuka or terikihi
selection of fresh shellfish (we used mussels, crab and prawns)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat a grill plate. Place a large deep sauté pan on top and cook the olive oil, onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme with a good pinch of salt until the onion is tender.

Add the wine or beer and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste then the fish stock, tomatoes and lemon zest and juice. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the mussels and crab. Cover and cook until they have just opened then add the fish and prawns. Cover again and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the parsley and season if needed.

Serve in big bowls with lots of warm crusty bread.