So I thought I was getting better, but I was wrong. Yesterday, my cough decided to mutate, turning into some sort of infection - my throat is currently swollen up so much (think X-Men villain Mojo) that it's hard to swallow. I spent the day lounging the house, hanging out with my friend Nick (Calypso to those who have met him at Food Blogger happy hours). Given my pitiful state, I decided to try to cheer myself up by making cioppino, a fish stew for which San Francisco is famous. The rich broth of the cioppino soothed my throat and made my stomach very happy. I also now have enough leftovers to feed myself for a few days without having to leave the house, so I don't have to change out of my pajamas anytime in the immediate future.
List of ingredients for the cioppino:
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 tsp. salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups seafood stock
1 bay leaf
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp
1 1/2 lb. halibut
I also chopped up (pretty finely) the onion and the shallot. The use of two different kind of onions confused me the first time I made this recipe, but, along with the mellowed licorice taste from the fennel, it adds a depth of flavor I don't find in other cioppino recipes. That Giada really knows her stuff!
I heated the oil in a very large pot over medium heat, then added the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauteed until the onion was translucent, about 10 minutes.
I threw in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauteed 2 minutes. I doubled the amount of red pepper flakes, because I like a little heat in the broth.
Next, I added the tomato paste. Again, I used twice as much as the recipe calls for, because I wanted the broth very thick. I added the diced tomatoes (juices and all), wine, fish stock and bay leaf, covered and brought to a simmer, and cooked about 40 minutes.
I then added the mussels, covered and cooked until the mussels began to open, about 5 minutes.
In the meanwhile, I prepped the rest of the seafood. I cut the halibut (one of my favorite kinds of fish) into big hearty chunks. You could use any type of white fish, but I like halibut because it's firm enough to hold together in the stew.
I also peeled and deveined the shrimp. To devein shrimp, I just ran my knife along the back of each shrimp, exposing the black vein (it's really the gastrointestinal tract of the shrimp), which I then pulled out.
I seasoned the soup, to taste, and served with some crusty French bread. While I usually make this stew in the winter, it was exactly what my poor, sick-ravaged body needed. And the stew tastes even better the next day, when the flavors have really had a chance to meld. I'm still feeling sick, but at least I have this cioppino to look forward to eating tonight!