Cioppino / by Megan Tomino

mr. krabs is not having a good day.

mr. krabs is not having a good day.

On this venture in #FAFAFAF, Linz and I decided to tackle cioppino after I saw the chef at Putah Creek Cafe in California make it for Guy Fieri. Yeah, I watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives... I love that show. Guy Fieri is hilarious. The ingredient list for the cioppino is E X T E N S I V E, basically calling for everything in the grocery store... but we made it anyway!


PART I: FASHION

Now, let's actually incorporate some fashion in this #FAFAFAF post. I went around shooting photos of Linz in the grocery store and at the fish market. Super normal. Lindsey uses closet staples; a white button up, cut-off shorts, and black booties to create an outfit that's ready for being on-the-go all day long. She is always putting her own unique touch on simple looks with her accessories, in this case layers of bracelets, stacked rings, wire framed sunnies, and a leopard print bucket bag.

Lindsey is wearing Levi's vintage shorts, J.Crew boy shirt, Barneys NY boots, Ray Bans, Pierre Hardy bag, and jewelry by David Yurman, Tiffany & Co., A.Wattz, By Chari, and Meems.


PART II: FOOD

This cioppino is soul cleansing and comforting. Take a spoonful and you're greeted with a tang of acidity from the tomatoes and red wine. The tang turns into a rich, full seafood flavor, and finishes with just a slight kick from the serrano chile and tabasco. We set the table for dinner on the patio and as the soup was served, conversation ceased. The only noticeable sounds were the slurping of broth, the occasional crack of a crab claw and the light patter of rain drops falling on the awning.

Cioppino Recipe
Adapted from Frederick Reyes, Putah Creek Cafe
Serves 6 

Tomato Base:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small carrot, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
5-10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small serrano chile, halved
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle good red wine
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Tabasco
2 28 oz. cans
 pureed tomatoes (San Marzano-style)
Fish Stock

Fish Stock:
1 pound fresh fish bones (we used a salmon head)
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-6 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 bunch parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Shells and heads from prawns
5 cups clam juice
4 cups water
1/2 a lemon

Seafood:
1 whole Dungeness crab legs and bodies
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
18 black mussels, bearded and scrubbed clean
1 1/2 pounds fresh swordfish or other firm fish, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 large scallops

12 peeled and deveined prawns (shells reserved for stock)

Make it:

First, get the fish stock going.
In a large pot, add all of the fish stock ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain, reserving the broth and and prawn heads and discarding the solids.

Meanwhile, start the tomato base.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the carrots, onions, bell peppers, and celery, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chile, herbs, and seasonings and cook until fragrant. Add the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, and tabasco and reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes and all of the fish stock and prawn heads (for a stronger fish note in the soup), bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine strainer. 

Thicken the soup (optional).
While we were straining the tomato base, we noticed that the soup was thinning out quite a bit because we were losing a lot of the tomato pulp. We decided to take some of the cooked down peppers, onions, garlic, celery, and carrots, put it in a food processor and process till very smooth. We added this back into the soup to give it a heartier consistency. After adding the "pulp", keep the tomato base on a simmer until ready to serve.

Just before serving, cook the seafood.
Bring the tomato base back up to a boil. Add the live crab and cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the clams and mussels. As the shells begin to open, drop in the cubed fish, scallops, and prawns. Remove all seafood once cooked, about 5 minutes.

Evenly distribute the seafood in bowls and ladle the hot soup over all that goodness. 

Serve with chopped parsley, lots of garlic bread, and chili flakes for some extra heat.