If you've ever visited San Francisco, you've probably had a bowl of their famous cioppino soup. Fresh seafood simmered in tomato broth hits the spot on a cold, rainy, winter day. My brother has been requesting this soup for months now, so I finally ran out of excuses and made it for him. I don't really know what cioppino tastes like, but the soup had a lovely balance of flavors and the seafood and tomatoes were not overpowering in the least bit. The verdict: he thoroughly enjoyed it! It's always a good sign when people are making mmmm sounds when they're eating :)

Makes 6 servings

Adapted From Gourmet, March 2002
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine*
  • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 pound skinless tilapia, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2.5 pound assorted seafood (mussels, scallop, calamari, shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • Garnish: shredded fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves
  • Accompaniment: focaccia or sourdough bread


Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While stew is simmering, Add mussels to stew and simmer, covered, until they open, 5 to 10 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels after 10 minutes.) Lightly season remaining seafood with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes - stir ingredients around and let simmer on low for 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf and adjust taste with S&P, then gently stir in parsley and basil. (I actually omitted the herbs b/c I forgot to add them)

Serve cioppino immediately in large soup bowls with slices of bread.

Cooks' note:
The stew — without seafood — can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered. Bring to a simmer before adding seafood.

*I used $2 Chuck Sauvignon Blanc