Cioppino is a fish stew traditionally made by Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf section of San Francisco. It was originally made on fishing boats with whatever fish were at hand. This cioppino comes to us from California chef and cooking teacher John Ash, who has been an advocate for sustainable-food issues for years and has served on the board of advisors of Seafood Watch--the advocacy arm of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ash chose a variety of shellfish for this recipe, all of which are Seafood Watch Best Choices or Good Alternatives.

John Ash
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2010


Recipe Summary

1 hr 15 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large, deep soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; add onions, garlic, and celery (or fennel). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, oregano, fennel seed and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Strain, discarding solids, and return the broth to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Meanwhile, brush bread with garlic oil. Toast in a toaster oven or under the broiler until golden brown.

  • Bring the broth to a gentle boil. Add shellfish, scallops and shrimp and cook, gently stirring, until the shellfish just begin to open and the shrimp are no longer opaque, about

  • 4 minutes. Add crab, cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish.

  • To serve, place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the cioppino over it. Sprinkle with basil (and/or parsley).


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the strained broth (Step 1) for up to 2 days.

Tip: Look for fish stock near other canned or boxed broths in the soup aisle or in the freezer section of the seafood department. Or use reduced-sodium chicken broth instead. To add seafood flavor to the chicken broth, peel and devein the shrimp and add the shells to the broth in Step 1 when you add the wine and tomatoes.

Ingredient Notes: Find garlic-flavored olive oil near other oils in specialty-food shops or large supermarkets.

Be sure to buy “dry” sea scallops. “Wet” scallops, which have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), are mushy and less flavorful. Some scallops will have a small white muscle on the side; remove it before cooking.

Nutrition Facts

347 calories; protein 28.1g; carbohydrates 22.2g; dietary fiber 1g; sugars 2.2g; fat 10.9g; saturated fat 1.7g; cholesterol 95.9mg; vitamin a iu 328.6IU; vitamin c 6.3mg; folate 92.2mcg; calcium 76.7mg; iron 3.1mg; magnesium 59.8mg; potassium 445.1mg; sodium 964.7mg; thiamin 0.4mg.

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Rating: 4 stars
I followed the recipe exactly substituting fresh lump crabmeat ( ) for the dungeness crab as indicated. The results were just OK. The broth is quite thin and once the seafood is added to the broth the water the seafood exudes further thins the broth and reduces rather than adds to the flavor. It was a very bland watery dish. Also I found it took way longer than stated for the clams to open. Since the seafood is all added at once this resulted in the other components being overcooked while waiting for the clams to open. I made this for company and was embarrassed with the way the meal turned out. Read More