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San Francisco Classic: Cioppino

Breville, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Contributor: Susi

Cioppino, a now-classic San Francisco dish, has very humble beginnings. This fish stew was cooked aboard the fishing vessels of the early Italian immigrant fisherman who settled in San Francisco’s North Beach. Bringing together whatever seafood was leftover from the day’s catch, the dish is gaining new popularity as sustainable and seasonal cooking begins to direct more choices in the kitchen. When you cook up your version honor its origin and add in the fresh catch of the day – changing with the season. Choose a mix of offerings from crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, and a firm white fish. Combine your selection with onions, garlic, and tomatoes and a blend of herbs in olive oil and wine. In the Italian home, this a popular dish for the holiday season as well. We like a little extra garlic and lots of San Francisco sourdough to sop up every last bit of broth. Enjoy our version of this San Francisco Italian classic or use it as a beginning to create your own twist.


Photo Credit: Breville USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 min
Servings: 6

3 lbs bass filet
4 cracked and cleaned crabs
2 lbs shrimp
36 clams
24 mussels
2 cups chopped green onions
2 cups chopped parsley
6 cloves garlic minced
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 lemon, sliced thinly for garnish
1 cup  olive oil
2 lbs & 3 oz (35g) Italian tomatoes
2 6-oz cans Italian tomato paste
3 cups dry white wine
2 T each salt, basil, oregano, rosemary
1 Bay leaf
Freshly grated parmesan for a table garnish


Sauté onions and parsley in olive oil
Add tomatoes, paste, red wine, lemon juice, lemon zest
Add spices
Add a firm white fish such as bass or halibut
Cook slowly for 1 hour or longer
Add crab and cook 20 minutes
Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes – they will finish with the shellfish
Add clams and mussels until open (10 minutes)
Garnish with thin slices of lemon
Have fresh parmesan on the table

Serve in a bowl with extra crusty San Francisco sourdough bread.


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