Weekday Cioppino

Think about when you were eight years old; what was your favorite food? Mine was a tie between pizza & macaroni and cheese.

Okay, and perhaps to this day I still list pizza as one of my favorite foods, but it is now topped with fun cheeses, prosciutto, and lots of other malarkey if I feel like it. I’m an overgrown toddler. Whatever.

So this week when I excitedly said to my own nearly nine year old daughter, “Oooooh wanna have pizza for dinner?” and in return she said “Nah, can you make that seafood soup again,” I wasn’t sure whether to be proud or weep.

What kind of child chooses cioppino over pizza? Well, I reckon the same kind that put a laptop and a pink rifle on her birthday wish list.

Help me.

I chose to forge forward with a lazy version of cioppino. Quick enough for the middle of the week and it makes enough to feed an army. The funny thing was my seafood cost was $18…much less than a pizza delivery and we still got to use our hands and be messy.

What do you need?

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • pinch of red pepper flake
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 lb. raw scallops, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 lb. raw tilapia fillets, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 20 mussels, cleaned and closed
  • two clusters of cooked Alaskan crab legs
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and a little salt and pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes and add the wine. Continue to cook until the wine almost completely evaporates, about 4 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce. Increase the heat to medium, taste and season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the tomatoes, scallops, shrimp, fish and mussels. Cook for 5 minutes and add the crab claws to heat through for 2 additional minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil and parsley. Taste again for a final seasoning and adjust as needed.

Do not eat any mussels that do not open during cooking or mussels that are open prior to cooking. It means they’re defective and are not open to your love – and they want to kill you.

Serve with a big salad, a bowl for empty shells and a loaf of crusty bread to sop up any extra broth.

I’m so thankful my child is strange,

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7 thoughts on “Weekday Cioppino

  1. I can’t eat any seafood but my husband would love it if I made this for him. He’d be surprised as all get out too because the only seafood I do make for him is a (great) grilled salmon and steamed mussels! Your presentation is beautiful.

    P.S. Wondering what your daughter’s first choice is? I know you van get a pink laptop but do they even make pink rifles?!

  2. Revel in your child’s unique palate. My son, back in the day when he was five, six and we used to visit a favorite Italian restaurant, wanted a dozen steamers as his meal. Now at 32 he is a wonderful cook and a great father even if his kids prefer chicken fingers and mac and cheese.

  3. it surprised me when my kids dived into a big bowl of mussels one summer. Even the littlest (who was 1 at the time) learned to use a discarded mussel shell as a utensil. This has inspired me to not be scared of seafood beyond shrimp and canned crab!

  4. I’m thankful your child is strange, too ’cause this looks DELISH! I can’t wait to try it altho all my seafood will be *sigh* frozen. They don’t have fresh in Arkansas. Bet it is yummy anyway!

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