Cioppino is a wonderful, robust fish stew that was originally made by fishermen along the San Francisco coast. Made to be eaten with the fingers and lots of delicious sourdough bread, Cioppino is at its best when served hot.
I have found the best way to keep the Cioppino hot is to make use of my Le Creuset fondue dish. You can also use the fondue forks to secure your chosen seafood – very handy indeed. It is a good idea to supply the diners with nutcrackers (for the crab) and lots of paper serviettes (for the fingers).
The mussels that I used in this recipe came from Princess Charlotte Seafoods. The mussels were packed and had already been scrubbed and debearded. Luxury!
500g green prawns, peeled and deveined, leaving the tails intact
2 sand crabs, cleaned and cut into pieces
1 tin clams, drained (optional)
200g dried porcini mushrooms
1 green capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups red wine
3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
(1) Soak the dried mushrooms in water for about fifteen minutes. In a large pot, bring a couple of litres of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, add the mussels, cover the pot and steam for a few minutes until the mussels open. Take the pot from the heat and remove the mussels from the pot, retaining the water in which they were cooked. You will be using the water later in the recipe. Drain the mushrooms, discarding the gritty water.
(2) In another pot, heat the olive oil and then sauté the onion, garlic, capsicum and mushrooms for about five minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot with the vegetables and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
(3) Now add the tomato paste, red wine and four cups of the water in which you cooked the mussels. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let simmer for half an hour
(4) At the end of half an hour, add the crab pieces, prawns and clams to the pot. Continue to simmer for a few minutes until the prawns are just pink and then add the mussels to the pot. Keep on cooking for a couple of minutes to heat the mussels. Remove the pot from the heat, add the chopped parsley and stir through.
(5) Transfer the Cioppino to the Le Creuset fondue dish and serve with heaps (and I mean heaps) of sourdough bread.
• For information about Le Creuset, visit them online at www.lecreuset.com.au or call 1800 099 012.
• The seafood in this recipe was supplied by Princess Charlotte Seafoods. You can contact them on 0421 191 239.Reads: 899