Recipe: Cioppino


Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from Helen Evans Brown's "West Coast Cook Book." Serve cioppino with thick slices of baguette you've toasted, rubbed with raw garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped green onion

1 cup chopped onion

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

6 to 8 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 pound squid, tubes and tentacles, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 cups fruity red wine

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 pounds firm, meaty fish such as shark, yellowtail, grouper or sea bass, cut in 1-inch cubes

1 pound lean flaky fish, such as rock cod or snapper, cut in 1-inch cubes

3/4 pound shrimp, in shell

1 pound small clams

1/2 cup parsley

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onion, onion and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the squid and stir to coat with flavorings. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, salt, bay leaf and oregano and bring to a simmer.

2. Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. The mixture will eventually lose its raw alcohol smell and the wine and crushed tomatoes will form a sauce. This will take about 45 minutes. You will notice a change in the smell and taste of the sauce as it loses its harshness and mellows. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 hours in advance or even further if tightly covered and refrigerated.)

3. In a separate large saucepan, one that is taller than it is wide, arrange the fish. First, ladle in a thin layer of the sauce. Then begin stacking the fish in the rough order of how long they will take to cook: start with the meaty ones, then the flaky, then the shrimp and then the clams. If you are using crab or lobster, put those on the bottom layer.

4. Pour the remaining sauce over the fish and give the pan a good shake to distribute the sauce evenly. Cover and place over medium heat. Cook until the small clams are open, about 20 minutes. From time to time, shake the pan vigorously (hold the lid on tight!) rather than stirring, to avoid breaking up the fish.

5. When ready to serve, taste and add more salt if necessary, gently stir in the parsley and ladle the stew into warm bowls.

Each serving: 403 calories; 49 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 193 mg. cholesterol; 631 mg. sodium.

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