Friday, September 17, 2010

Cioppino :A Salute to Fishermen Everywhere

      We have found a wonderful fishmonger this summer at the farmers market. He has provided us with some of the freshest shrimp and scallops I have seen in a very long time. Tonight I tip my sailor hat to Captain George and all the fine fishermen who work hard to provide us with terrific seafood. I’m preparing a Cioppino, fish stew that has its roots in California. I’ll use shrimp and scallops today but it is very versatile, use what you have. Cioppino is a dish conceived by the fishermen themselves, traditionally comprised of the leftover bits and pieces of the days catch. Tonight we imagine we’re in San Francisco and enjoy a savory bowl of Cioppino.

2 Tbs olive oil in the cooking pot
½  Onion $.35
(I used leek onion combo because I had leeks on hand and was curious on how it would taste)
¼  green pepper diced $.20
Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley$.50 
2  Sliced mushrooms$.10
2  Cloves garlic minced fine or grated $.30
                            Cook for a few minutes
1-2                 Diced fresh tomatoes $.60
1 Tbs or so      Tomato paste $.35
¾ cup             Red wine (white is ok too)
I used merlot we had on hand (use a decent wine) $2.50
 I simmer the pot about ½ hour to 45 minutes
Simmering the cioppino
I made a small bundle or rosemary thyme and oregano from the garden (tied it for easy removal) and tossed it in the pot to simmer
 add S&P to taste

I’ve cleaned and *steamed
3oz scallops  $.300
4oz shrimp $3.00
2oz cod $1.20
*(I place the shrimp shells in the steaming water
and use the drained steaming liquid (minus the shells)
as part of the 1 cup of water I’ll add to the pot later)

When fish are done steaming I added them to the pot with
1-cup or so of water including steaming liquid
I also cut them into pieces for the two of us.
(When making this for a group I leave the shrimp whole because it makes a good presentation.)
as a finishing touch I add 1oz cooked crab meat $1.00
(It was $14.99 per Lb. I needed almost ½ Lb for a dish later this weekend
and the ounce I used today really worked well in the soup.
Total $13.10 (Cost still rivals a trip to any fast food drive thru)
TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t feel as if you must buy and entire pound on any one ingredient. Most fishmongers and butchers for that matter realize a small quantity may be all that’s needed for a dish. I purchased 2 oz of cod at the store and the fishmonger behind the counter was happy to help. I often buy 1 or 2 slices of good bacon for a dish and rule out the pre- packaged slab. Think creatively and a special dish like Cioppino does not have to cost a great deal.     

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