Friday, January 21, 2011

San Francisco Ciopinno--A Recipe to Bring the House Down

 Catagory: Main Dishes
Difficulty: Medium
Pretty Healthy

When Alan and I got married, his parents couldn't come out to the wedding, so my Mom had the rehearsal dinner at our family home. Good old 75 Sausal Drive. Worn with animals and children, but stylish nonetheless. Upstairs it had a "great room". With tile floors, a very modern black marble fireplace and huge picture windows with beautiful view... It could easily accommodate 50 people or more.. This caused me a bit of consternation as a child. I was afraid that the whole thing would someday crash into the downstairs because we had so many large cocktail parties. I mean, it was built solid, but just how many people with martinis can plywood take? Our rehearsal party was no different. Big and fun. The Shelby family was there and so there was Jim (Cricket) Shelby on piano and lots of harmony and everbody hamming it up. The wine was flowing. Alan sang "Get Me To The Church On Time" and brought down the house. Well, nearly. Despite my fears it stayed up. And we had my mother's famous Cioppino, from a that she found in a magazine long ago.

San Francisco Cioppino:

1/2 C. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 C. chopped green onion
3/4 C. chopped green pepper
1 jar (11 1/2 oz.) whole clams
1 can (1lb. 12 oz.) tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 3/4 C. Burgundy or Cabernet (buy the best you can afford)
1/3 C. chopped Italian parsley
2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried basil
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lb. Halibut or Red Snapper
1/2 lb. raw shrimp
3 cans (6 1/2 oz.) King Crab meat, drained and boned (or use fresh or faux crab)

--In hot 6 qt.pot, saute garlic, onions and green pepper until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain clams, reserving 1/4 liquid, and set aside. Add clam liquid, un-drained tomatoes, tomato paste, Burgundy, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and 3/4 C. water to vegetables, mixing well. Bring to boililng, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Cut halibut in 1-inch pieces, discard skin and bones. Add with shrimp, crab and clams to tomato mixture. Simmer. uncovered, 15 minutes. Serves 8 --but the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. And feel free to add any kind of white fish or shellfish you like (Muscles are good) to the mix. Serve with french bread for tearing and dipping. For best results make the soup part the day before so that flavors will meld. Always a big hit, we have shared this recipe with many people!


  1. I love this recipe - I remember Mom's huge pot, and in later years she handed out bibs! So good with the sourdough french bread ...