I’ve been wanting to do some healthier tomato based dishes so tonight I decided to try a seafood cioppino (a cioppino is a seafood stew). I headed to Whole Foods to see what looked good in the seafood department and fortunately they had fresh muscles. I also picked up some fresh shrimp and some more of the fresh hake fish that I made last night. The only thing I would change was using a red wine instead of cooking sherry (I didn’t have anything that I was willing to open and cook with). I didn’t want sherry to over power the flavor so I used just a little and it came out great. I think it would definitely be better with red wine (like a syrah) so next time I’ll plan a bottle with the meal. Be sure to serve it with a nice french baguette or a good sourdough roll.
What you need
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 California bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed roasted tomatoes
1/2 cups water
1/2 cup full-bodied red wine such as Zinfandel or Syrah
1/2 cup clam juice
1 1/2 pounds of fresh seafood (fish, shrimp, scallops, muscles, calamari, etc)
What you do
Coarsely chop the fennel, onion, and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then stir in chopped vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, covered, on medium heat, stirring a few times, about 4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, water, wine, and clam juice and boil covered for 20 minutes. Stir in your seafood and add a pinch of salt then cook uncovered until the mussels open wide, 4 to 6 minutes (discard any that remain unopened after 6 minutes). Check your seafood frequently and serve as soon as the last pieces are cooked through (so you don’t over cook others).