I was digging through some of my old recipes a couple of weeks ago and I found a cioppino recipe from Tadich Grill. It was almost like finding a twenty dollar bill in a jean pocket. Anyone who is a San Francisco history buff may know that Tadich Grill is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. I had completely forgot I even had it. I couldn’t remember where I printed it from but after a short search on the Internet, I found several versions of it of it. The one that was exactly like the one I had printed was on Saveur.com (here). I’ve made Sam’s Anchor Cafe’s version before (here) but wanted to try this version. So the plan was to make it for New Year’s Eve dinner.
I found some great precooked King crab legs, mussels, manila clams, huge fresh scallops and gigantic tiger shrimp. The Mister wanted some fish so I also bough some cod that looked fresh that day. The recipe took a little more time than Anchor Cafe’s version since the broth requires more time to simmer, which I liked since I preferred cioppino with thicker broth. It turned out delicious and we preferred it over the Anchor Cafe’s version. But Anchor Cafe’s version is still a good one to have on hand when I’m pressed for time.
The original recipe calls for adding the cooked liquid from the clams to the stew but I didn’t since clams and mussels can still have grit and sand once cooked. Most clams are cleaned when you buy them but I find that there still can be some residue grit and sand even after soaking in saltwater and scrubbed. BTW, the manila clams were the star of the stew, even more so than the King crab legs, which I removed from the shell and then added at the last minute right before serving just to warm them up.
Adapted from Saveur’s Tadich Grill version
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 leek, white part only, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped
- 1⁄2 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
- 2 28-oz. cans crushed Italian tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 4 cups fish or seafood stock (can also use water)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 2 pinches cayenne
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped, divided
- 1 1⁄2 lbs. halibut filet, cut into large pieces
- 16 sea scallops
- 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1⁄2 lb. raw bay shrimp, if available, or smallest shrimp available, peeled
- 12 oz. crabmeat
- 2 cups + 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 16 manila clams, scrubbed
- 1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped
Heat 1/2 cup of the oil and 8 tbsp. of the butter in a large (6-quart) Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, peppers, leeks 1/2 the garlic and fennel and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 cups fish stock (or water), bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, and cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil, 8 tbsp. butter, and remaining garlic in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Working in batches, cook halibut and shrimp for 1–2 minutes on each side. Transfer seafood with a slotted spoon to Dutch oven, cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes. If using raw crab meat, add now.
In the same skillet used to cook the fish and shrimp, add 1/2 cup of wine. Add cleaned clams, cover and cook until all clams are open, about 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer clams to Dutch oven. Discard liquid and garlic from skillet. If using precooked crab meat, add to Dutch oven now. Simmer for another 5 minutes and discard any unopened clams. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into large bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve with toasted sourdough bread, if you like.
I served some homemade garlic toast with a side of anchovy paste. Chase this with a couple of bottles of prosecco and what a terrific meal it was!
Ending on a completely different note, I’ve had the same INXS song (Don’t Change) in my head for the past two days. IMHO, it’s one of INXS’ best songs, certainly one of my top 5 favorite INXS (and possibly all) songs. So here’s a video of the song from their (where else?) San Francisco tour 1988.
Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!